Filip Strych is a 24-year-old Flyers fan from the Czech Republic. He’s currently a PhD. candidate in Ethnology in the field of African Studies. Ice hockey and mountain biking are his biggest hobbies. He is a diehard fan of the Flyers and is the European correspondent for Flyers Faithful. You can follow him on Twitter. Below, he gives the top five reasons he loves the Flyers.
1. 1997 Stanley Cup Finals
This was the first time that I saw my Flyers on TV in the Czech Republic. I was 10 and every game was broadcast from 1 to 5 PM Central European Time. Even though they were swept 0-4 by the Red Wings, I fell in love with them. I was obsessed with their jersey. I have loved the orange and black combination since the first time I laid eyes on it, especially the orange jersey.
The Flyers were a prototypical team for me – playing gritty defense with players like Luke Richardson, Chris Therien, Karl Dykhuis on the one side and skilled one like Eric Desjardins on the other. Their offense was stunning, too – Big E, LeClair, Brind’Amour – this line made me the Flyers freak I am today. During the final ceremony to present the Cup I felt so sorry for the Flyers but I realized that I like this team and they stole my heart.
2. One of a few
In the late 90’s only a few people in my country knew something about the Flyers. Yes, Eric Lindros was famous in Europe, too, but I didn’t know single person who was a Flyers fan. Nearly every single young Czech were fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The reason is simple – Jaromír Jágr. He was in his prime, dominated in the league and he had been a national hero since the early 90’s. But I didn’t feel that I want to be a Pens fan (even If I didn’t know about the long standing rivalry). I wanted to permanently live in Flyerdom.
3. Roman Cechmánek
I know that he wasn’t so popular in Philly, but he means so much to me. He played for HC Vsetín in the Czech Extraliga and they won the title 5 times in a row. When he came to Philly, I was so excited that my favorite goaltender went to Philadelphia.
Cechmánek had a breakout year, he put up very good numbers, but he failed in the playoffs. This lack of success break his spirit in Philly. I loved his style of playing. He was unorthodox, but very effective.
4. Broad Street Bullies
Nearly everyone is mentioning Philadelphia Flyers and their Broad Street Bullies years in the same breath. Even if they’re not the famed BSB anymore, I still love to watch Sandy McCarthy, Gino Odjick, Dan Kordic, Craig Berube, Ed Hospodar, Paul Holmgren, Rick Tocchet, Bobby Clarke, Dave Schultz and Donald Brashear fighting.
Today’s NHL is much more tame than the old one. I mean when Lindros hit someone so hard, no one jumped on him and fight him. I like to see tough hockey, as Europeans love to say “Canadian hockey.” The Flyers have defined tough, gritty hockey through the years.
5. The most intimidating fans in the NHL
The title speaks for itself. Flyers fans are the best in the NHL. They’re passionate, they’re hungry for the Cup and they want to see the Orange and Black win something — the game or the fights — every night. I really want to be at the Wells Fargo Center and enjoy the atmosphere.
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.