Focus on the Faithful: Superfan – Ed “Troll” Kelly

I know what you’re thinking, “I’m the Superfan!” or “I know who the real Superfan is!”

I won’t sit here on my high perch and cast judgement on your claims. As a matter of fact, if you think that you or someone you know are worthy of a Focus, shoot me an email at jimmytrashtalk@yahoo.com (subject: Focus on the Faithful), explain what makes you stand out and I’ll immortalize you here at Flyers Faithful.

Until then, I’d like to introduce you, to someone dubbed. “Superfan” by some of the Flyers themselves, Ed Kelly.

I first met Ed when I worked at the Upper Darby Pathmark. Ed has been the  “cart technician” there for close to 30 years and is a fixture in the area. On one of my first days working there, I strolled towards the entrance, coffee in hand and was met by an enthusiastic little man, who only said six words to me,

“Hey! Do you like the Flyers?”

What followed, was a great friendship that consisted of him keeping me filled in on the comings and goings of the Flyers organization, through newspaper clippings pulled out of a Members Only jacket pocket. Essentially, he was my Flyers Faithful before this site even existed.

Little by little, I began to realize, Ed was not your typical Flyers fan. This came to light the day that he brought in a large scrapbook filled with his run-ins with the players that go back from Bobby Clarke to James van Riemsdyk.

Jim: How did you get all of these pictures!?

Ed: Oh, at least once a week, I take the train from 69th Street to Voorhees to watch their practice. I have pictures of just about everyone that ever played for the Flyers. My only thing is, I don’t want a picture of them in their uniform…it has to be in their street clothes.”

And so it is. Having seen the book (one of many) I can assure you that he is not exaggerating. He may be a simple little cart guy from Upper Darby but his passion for the Flyers is complex. It didn’t take Ed long to boast that he is a genuine “Superfan” and that the title was given to him by one of the Flyers themselves.

Ed Kelly: I had been showing up at practice a few times a week and the players began to recognize me. Eventually, it was Jimmy Watson who shouted ” Hey, Superfan!” and the name stuck.

Jim: They gave you another name too, didn’t they Ed?

Ed: Yeah, “Troll”. It was Chris Therein and Kerry Huffman who gave me that name. They were funny guys!

Lest you think they were being mean, Ed loves the nickname and has embraced it fully. If you ever get the pleasure of meeting Ed, you’ll see it fits but for what he lacks in stature, he gains in heart. Besides his devotion to the Flyers, I can’t ever remember him missing a day of work, even through illness. I recently went back to visit Ed, to ask him a few questions.

Jim: What are some of your early Flyers memories?

Ed: My dad used to take me and my brothers to the Flyers games at the Spectrum. I was at the game in ’73, when Barry Cummings of the Oakland Seals broke his stick over Bobby Clarke’s head. One of the bloodiest games I’ve ever seen and I loved it!

Jim: You’ve met a lot of Flyers over the years, who are your favorites?

Ed: My best friend in the organization is PR guy Zack Hill. I usually sit with him at the Flyers practice. As far as the players, my favorite is Riley Cote. For my 50th birthday, we went to Chickie and Pete’s and he paid to have my party there. Really a good guy.

I reached out to Cote on Twitter and he confirmed the story and gave this comment,

“He’s just a huge fan and the Flyers are his life. Takes the train into Voorhees religiously 2 see the boys”

I enjoyed seeing Ed again and talking Flyers with him. Ed seemed a little uncomfortable being the subject of an interview and was also worried that he would get in trouble for not doing his work. Before we parted ways, I asked him one last question.

Jim: Ed, what do the Flyers have to do to win a Cup?

Ed: We’re almost there. We just need a solid defenseman because Pronger is done and we need someone other than Jagr, who can put the puck in the net. Jagr was a bad move.

Ed “Troll” Kelly’s confidence in the team that he loves took away a little of the sting that I felt about their premature exit and gave me hope for their future. If any of you Flyers fans find yourself near Upper Darby, I implore you to go to the Pathmark and seek Ed out.

Maybe you’ll even get lucky and he’ll have his scrap book with him. One glance at that and you’ll see why I agree with Jimmy Watson that Ed is the Flyers “Superfan.”