1. In My Blood
Growing up, Flyers hockey was always a part of my life. I grew up watching the Flyers on PRISM & Philly 57 with my dad and playing hand hockey during intermission. He took me to games at the Spectrum every so often, and seeing the game live definitely kept me hooked. He told me stories about the glory days in the ‘70s. As I grew up, my buddy and I would play roller hockey in my basement after school and pretend we were Eric Lindros, Rod Brind’Amour, John LeClair, and so on. (By the way, when one of us had to be the Devils or Rangers, we’d give a half effort.)
2. Stadium Atmosphere
If you’ve ever been to Philly for a game, you know that it gets wild. There’s a reason why The Hockey News ranked us the #1 craziest fans in the league. Most nights you can feel the electricity from pre-game all the way through the final buzzer. We’re passionate, knowledgeable; sometimes a little out of control, but that’s part of what makes us Philly fans. We’re a rare breed. We’re going to yell in your face during the game, and then afterwards we’ll split some beers. One story going back to the Spectrum was that the fans were so loud during warmups, that the visiting team could hear them in the locker room.
3. Team’s Reputation
Part of what makes Philly fans so crazy is our team’s reputation. Built in the 70s, the new mentality was “if we can’t beat you on the scoreboard, we’re just going to beat you”. Often times those teams won on the scoreboard, and forced some opponents to suffer from the “Philly Flu”, when visitors would become “sick” and miss games against the Flyers. Dave Schultz, Bob Kelly, Andre Dupont, just to name a few tough guys from those Flyers teams. The tradition was continued by Ron Hextall, who liked to slash opposing forwards and even attacked Chris Chelios in a playoff game. Even these days, we have Chris Pronger, who’s one of the most hated guys around the league.
4. Players do what it takes to win
Times have changed, but the team still has players who are willing to do what it takes to win. Take Ian Laperriere for example; he took a puck to the face in a playoff game, suffered a brain injury and came back for the Stanley Cup Finals. Many of the players the fans like are hard workers. Guys like Darroll Powe and Blair Betts are appreciated for the hard work they do, while not getting the spotlight some of their teammates get. These guys embodies what it means to be a Flyer, playing for the crest on the front of the jersey. If a player isn’t a hustler, we realize that and boo him out of town (Yeah, we’re looking at you, Pavel Brendl!)
5. Former Players still Around
Another reason I love the Flyers is the presence of former players at the arena and in the area. On any given night you can find Stanley Cup winners Gary Dornhoefer and Bob Kelly along with Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent just hanging around the Wells Fargo Center. We have former players Keith Jones (aka Jonesey), Bill Clement & Chris Therien (aka Bundy) all working in the broadcast booth. Other former players choose to stay in the area after their playing career is over because they love the area so much. The alumni games at local rinks during the season show how many guys still live in the area.
…and that’s why I love the Flyers.
The Five Reasons to Love the Flyers feature was inspired by the Five Reasons I Love Hockey feature on the Puck Daddy blog. This column should run biweekly on Thursdays. If you are a diehard Flyers fan and would like to submit your list of reasons to love the Flyers, contact us.