5. The personality
Hockey players are unlike any other. When compared to the millionaires of other sports, there is a clear difference. Hockey players don’t think they’re better than you. They don’t talk down to you. They’re regular guys that just happen to shoot a 100 mph slapper. Everyone I’ve met through the organization has been as classy as can be. After a tough loss the players will still talk with the media, not turn their noses up and walk out of the room. That’s a trait that is rare in sports and helps make the life of a journalist much easier.
4. The arena
Through the Spectrum and the four names the Flyers’ current arena has gone through, one thing has stayed the same; it’s a tough place to play (if you’re the opponent), and an awesome place to take in a game as a fan. Year after year you hear of different publications or player polls that say Philadelphia is the toughest place to play in the NHL. Intimidation is bred in the Wells Fargo Center from the second fans walk in the building. In the playoffs, there is no louder place. The team doesn’t even have to be there. When they opened the doors to the arena last year and played the seventh game in the Boston series on Arenavision, the crowd erupted when the Flyers won and it was one of the loudest moments I’ve ever seen in that building despite the game played being a few states away.
3. The reputation
The 2006-07 season was a tough one to watch. The team went 22–48–12, but that was an anomaly. The reputation of the Flyers organization is to be among the contenders for the Stanley Cup every season. The team works their tails off and although the result hasn’t been there since 1975, they have always been on the short list for who is projected to play in early summer. The blue-collar mentality that the organization adopts, reflects the personality of Philadelphians perfectly. They’ve always had this saying painted on a wall in their locker room: “play for the crest on the front, not the name on the back.” It’s showed.
2. The fans
Everyone knows that in addition to being tough, Philadelphia has some of the smartest fans in all the land. Flyers fans are perhaps the smartest of all the Philadelphia teams. Where else would you see 20,000 people boo a non-call for icing? Fans remember single plays that happen years prior and make sure that the opposing players, and on-ice officials remember it too. The fans know the rules, they’re clever, and they’re tough. When new players come in to Philadelphia, they often say how excited they are to play in front of the Philly fans because they love the passion that the fans emit and they like that the fans will always tell you if they don’t think you’re working hard enough.
1. The Broad Street Bullies
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the fans doing their homework, but in reality it’s not just Philly fans. Everyone knows the Flyers history. Hell, the Flyers STILL revel in the Broad Street Bullies. HBO did a documentary on them. Some of them are on the concourse mixing it up with the fans before a game. The special relationship that the city has had with Bernie Parent, Gary Dornhoefer, Bob Kelly, Bill Clement, Dave Schultz, etc. has been unparalleled. Philadelphia is such a historical city, but sports fans know more about Kate Smith than they do about Betsy Ross.
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.