Ask anyone who is affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers, and they will tell you that the organization is good to its players, both current and former. For proof, look no further than the team’s front office.
Bobby Clarke, the longtime face of the organization while a player, is the team’s Senior Vice President. Dave Brown and Derian Hatcher both hold player personnel positions, while Craig Berube is an assistant coach. And former players Riley Cote and Terry Murray both now hold coaching positions with the Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers’ AHL affiliate.
Have you missed a Bernie Parent signing? No worries. If you go to a Flyers game, there’s a good chance you’ll see him wandering around the concourse beforehand. Same goes for Bob “The Hound” Kelly.
There’s a reason why these guys stick around with the organization long after their playing days are over: because the organization leaves a door open to them and treats them — and even their families — well for life.
Eric Lindros, who had a very public falling-out with Bobby Clarke and the Flyers organization, surprised everyone when he donned a Flyers uniform in January 2012 as part of the Winter Classic Alumni Game. Somehow, Lindros and the Flyers figured a way to patch things up and bring one of Philly’s favorites back to the city, even if just for one game.
Thanks to a gruesome eye injury, Ian Laperriere’s career ended while he was with the Flyers, and he remains with the team as the Director of Player Development. He’s a key figure at development/training camp and not only a fan favorite, but a player favorite. And he has mentioned numerous times that the organization has been good to him.
Now, there are other teams in the league that house former players in their front offices, I’m sure. But it’s different in Philadelphia. If you don’t see these guys at the Wells Fargo Center, you may see them at a supermarket in South Jersey, or a bank in South Philly. It’s a sense of familiarity, a sense of community.
These guys etched their names into Flyers history years ago, but are still a big part of the team now, in various ways. They’ve become community ambassadors for the team, buddies with longtime diehard fans, and legends in the eyes of those who grew up watching them play for the Orange & Black.
They are ingrained in Flyers hockey, and not just as part of the team, but as part of its culture and the culture of Philadelphia sports as a whole.