Rich DiPiero grew up in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia and has been a hockey player and a Flyers fan his whole life. As a kid, his favorite player was Eric Lindros. Below, he gives us the top five reasons he loves the Flyers.
While it is still one of the “younger” franchises in the NHL, over time since its establishment in 1967, the Flyers have created a great story line.
Winning two Stanley Cups before the franchise turned 10 years old. With a gritty, hard-working style of play allowed Philadelphians to be easily drawn to The Broad Street Bullies.
They quickly won the city over and the title became synonymous with hockey in Philadelphia. Over the years, we’ve all had the chance to grow up with different generations. My father grew up with, and still idolizes “The Captain”, Bobby Clarke. He and his teammates would be followed by the likes of Tim Kerr in the 1980’s. Young Philadelphians were then introduced to the Big E, Eric Lindros, who brought a new style of play to the NHL. He was great, and he was ours. Finally, over the 2000’s guys like Simon Gagne and now, Claude Giroux came along, serving as the guy that the “new” NHL loves, and the guy that kids all across the Delaware Valley want to grow up to be.
Naturally, with this extensive history and growing up with our Fly Guys, comes a heritage. Since their establishment, the Flyers have been passed down through generations. They’ll never have to worry about a fan base because we will always be there. You become a Flyers fan because you’re told to be, and it’s pretty hard to be talked out of it.
That bright Orange is in our blood as Philadelphians. The Flyers are one of the only teams I have seen that has lasted through the years without going through logo and color changes. The winged ‘P’ has stood strong, because it has been passed down and will continue to be throughout the years.
3. Loyalty to fans
With the consistency and dedication that we fans have shown throughout the years, the team has been just as loyal to us. First and foremost, they have always done whatever they can to help out in the community.
Although they are a constant target for criticism due to their ever-changing coaching staff, and, most notably, GOALIES, its rarely a bother because its all done in an attempt to provide their fans with the best product that they can be given. The organization will not accept mediocrity because the fans won’t, and that says a lot. Throughout the years, it would be a challenge to point out a roster that lacked one or several of the leagues star players. It’s exciting and it’s something to look forward to every season and every night that we pile into the Wells Fargo Center.
Because the Flyers are so dedicated to us fans, they have created a winning culture. It’s almost expected for them to sit at the top of the standings on an annual basis. They draft well and sign the players that they need to in order to ensure that consistency for the present and the future.
Sure, a few more Cups would be nice, but how many other fan bases in the NHL can say that their team is a contender every season, for the most part? We’ll never take it for granted, and surely expect a few bumps in the road, but we certainly do appreciate it.
1. The Playoffs
A team that wins is a team that appears in the playoffs, and this is when the true passion of Flyer fans is most apparent. Everyone is “Flyer’d Up”. You drive through the streets and see jerseys and signs hanging in windows. It is the buzz on local sports talk shows. There are pep rallies outside of the arena before home games and when you walk in, you are swallowed by a sea of Orange and Black.
Every year, there’s a different hero-and a different goalie. With that, we always learn to hate a new opponent. Playoff hockey in Philly is why our players refer to us as “the best fans in hockey.” It’s not just because they are trying to stay on our good side. It’s because we are and we prove it. Game by game, we get louder and louder.
We make it the hardest place for opponents to come in and win, and the hardest place for our boys to lose. However, despite the outcome, our passion will never be broken. I haven’t seen a Stanley Cup Parade in Philly yet, but I know it is coming soon, and I sure as hell can’t wait. LET’S GO 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.