Kevin Keating is a knowledgable hockey fan who I had the pleasure of meeting at development camp. He runs the site What the puck? and you can also follow him on Twitter. He’s a huge fan of the Flyers. Below, he gives up the top five reasons why he loves the organization.
1. The History
I’ve found this to be the most intriguing recently. While other teams have a rich and historic back catalogue (see: Canadiens, Maple Leafs etc etc), no one else in this league is still defined by a nickname they earned 40 years ago. Just a few weeks ago I was wearing my old Forsberg Shirsey, and this random guy started talking to me about hockey. While he wasn’t a fan of the orange and black, he referred to the boys as, you guessed it, The Broad Street Bullies. While it is a bit of a dubious nickname, is there any other team with such a defining history? You could argue the “Big Bad Bruins,” but you’d lose. Philly has the Philly Flu, Boston just has Massholes.
2. John LeClair
Do we really have to point out how ridiculously awesome the Legion of Doom line was? I’m sure there were people out there hoping to have their high school locker combination be 10-88-19. As dynamic as that line was to watch as a whole, on a personal level, I don’t think anyone stood out to me quite like John LeClair. Eric Lindros was the face of the Flyers and the line, but after awhile every time you saw him streaking up the ice with him staring a hole in his laces, you just awaited the inevitable. John was a blue collar type player who brought his lunch pail to work. His work just happened to be five consecutive +40 goal seasons, with three of them being 50 or more (also consecutive). I won’t forget the goal he scored in 2000 against Buffalo where he blasted it through the side of the net, and they still ruled it a goal. I’m sure the Sabres still hate us for that. Too bad. While w all remember his three 50 goal seasons in a row, the guy also ran a fruit stand. He’s had more apples than goals 8 times in his career. Not bad for a guy most people thought just took out Lindros’s garbage.
3. The Passion of the Fan
I’m going to preface this with saying that I abhor the idiotic fans that give the rest of us a bad name. On more than one occasion I have had to defend myself and other non moronic fans to people because we’re not all bad. With that said, there seems to be a passion amongst the Philadelphia fans (of all sports) that is above and beyond most fans anywhere else. Whether you’re living in the Italian Market, Old City, North Philly or over the river in NJ or western Canada, you bleed Orange and Black. During the Cup run of the 09-10 season, seeing the Wachovia Center fill up to watch game 7 against the Bruins on the Jumbotron and hearing how loud the building was…it’s beyond description really. You had to be there to feel the energy in that building. Fast forward to this summer, development camp was packed every day with people in the stands and lining the boards, just to see guys who might never even suit up for the big club. The fans want to know everything about THEIR team.
4. The Organization
Well that sounds a bit redundant, doesn’t it? I like the Flyers because I like the Flyers. That’s not exactly what I mean. Look at how many former players have been actively involved in the organization. Paul Holmgren, Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Gary Dornhoefer (I spelled this right on the first try by the way), John Stevens, Derian Hatcher and Riley Cote, just to name a few of the players who have once donned the Orange and Black only to continue their career with the organization after retiring the axe and hanging up the skates. It speaks volumes to an organization when a player like Hatcher, whose playing career was defined by his years with Minnesota/Dallas, chose to stay in Philadelphia after his playing days were over. You could even look more recently Ian LaPerriere, and how the organization is treating him, and in return how he is treating them. Philadelphia seems more like a brotherhood than just another hockey team. As long as you don’t do anything to get yourself run out of town, you’re a Flyer forever. Even look at how they treated Simon Gagne’s return last season in his first game back in Philadelphia with the Lightning. Hockey is a business, but there always seems to be something else in Philadelphia.
5. They’re the Flyers
‘Nuff said. You either get it, or you don’t.
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.