Philadelphia Flyers

Wed, 18 Mar 2009 04:27

History of Philadelphia Flyers

Information about the NHL team Philadelphia Flyers.

The Philadelphia Flyers are a professional ice hockey team from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The team etched its name in the history of ice hockey by becoming the first non-Original Six Team to win the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 75.

Philadelphia Flyers: the birth of a new expansion franchise

The birth of Philadelphia Flyers dates back to February 9, 1966 when Philadelphia city was awarded the expansion franchise by the NHL. It was Ed Snider who made his proposal to the league upon hearing its expansion plans. It was a bit of a surprise that the Philadelphia team was chosen since a group based on Baltimore was also being considered.

In the season of 1967-68, the Philadelphia Flyers made their debut. In their October 11, 1967 game, Philadelphia Flyers lost to the California Seals with the score of 5-1.  A week later, the team won against the St. Louis Blues, 2-1. In October 19 the same year, Philadelphia Flyers made their home debut by defeating the Pittsburgh Peguins, 1-0. Among the popular icons in the Flyers history were Lou Angotti, the first captain of the Flyers and Leaon Rochefort, one of the the team’s top scorers.

Ed Van Impe became the next team captain after Angotti left the team in the off-season. In 1968-69, the team was defeated by St. Louis. It was then that Ed Snider instructed General Manager Bud Poile, later replaced by Keith Allen, to get tougher players. The Flyers became one of the feared teams when Bobby Clarke became part of the team. Clarke became the crowd’s favorite.  He was a great player who made his way to the NHL All-Star- Game. However, the team still struggled in 1969-70, and earned 17 wins, the fewest in its history.

In 1971-72, Clarke proved his worth by becoming the first Flyer to win an NHL award, the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. Unfortunately, the Flyer lost its chance to enter the playoff when defeated by the Buffalo Sabres in a tie breaker game.

Philadelphia Flyers: “The Broad Street Bullies”

Because of the team’s brawling ways, Jack Chevalier and Pete Cafone of the Philadelphia Bulletin gave the team the label “Broad Street Bullies” in 1973. In that same year, Clarke replaced Ed Van Impe as team captain, making him the youngest team captain, at that time, in NHL history. Another player who was making history that time was Rick MacLeish, the first Flyer to score 50 goals in a season, giving Flyers it first winning season. However, they were outmatched by the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals. After the season, Clarke was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player. In the off -eason, goaltender Bernie Parent, an “Original Flyer”, returned to the franchise. Led by Dave Schultzs the Bullies continued their rough-and-tumble ways. The return of Parent was a great advantage for the team because he was one of the best goaltenders. In this season, the Flyers brought home the Stanley Cup for the first time.  Parent won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. This was a great achievement for this team, which was only in existence for seven seasons at that time.

In 1974-75, Clarke acquired the Hart Trophy and Parent, again, received the Vezina Trophy. In this season, the Flyers have improved their performance as a team by earning 51-18-11, the best record in the league.

In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Flyers won the first two games; the team lost Games 3 and 4 but won Game 5. On the 6th game, the Flyers got the Stanley Cup. Parent was again named the playoff MVP, and won for the second time the Conn Smythe Trophy.

On January 11 at the Spectrum, the Flyers played against the Soviet Union’s dominant Central Red Army team. In the first period of the game, the Soviets left the arena complaining that Valeri Kharlamov was hit. But the game pushed through until the Soviets were warned that they would lose their salary for the entire series. The Flyers won that game smoothly, 4-1, making them the first team to beat the Red Army. The Flyers got the best record in team history, earning 51-13-16. Clarke then was heading for his third Hart Trophy.

Philadelphia Flyers: post-Broad Street Bullies

The glory days of the Broad Street Bullies came to an end when David Schultz, one of the best players, was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. There was a slight drop-off in performance, yet the team still dominated the Patrick Division. The Flyers was also heading to their fifth consecutive semi-finals entry. In the 1977-78  season, the Flyers only got the second place in the Patrick Division. It was  during this season that head coach Fred Shero left the team and became the general manager and head coach of the Rangers. Another unfortunate event for the team was when Bernie Parent suffered an eye injury that put an end to his career. The season ended with the Flyers five-game quarter final loss against Fred Shero’s Rangers.

In the 1979-80 season, Clarke was named a playing assistant coach and Mel Bridgman was made the captain. In this season, the Flyers went undefeated for a North American professional sports record (25-0-10). The Flyers beat the Edmonton Oilers and also Fred Shero’s Rangers. However, the Flyers was defeated by the New York Islanders. This season came to an end when the team lost to the Calgary Flames in seven games. The seasons that followed was marked by the team’s defeat to the Rangers, for two consecutive years in a row, in 1981-82 and 1982-83.  The Flyers was also defeated by the Washington Capitals in 1983-84. After these consecutive losses, Clarke then retired and became the vice president and manager of the team.

Phildelphia Flyers: glorious seasons (1984-1988)

Mike Keenan became the coach of the team in the 1984 season. The Flyers won 53 games with Pelle Lindbergh as the goal tender. In this season, the team defeated the Rangers, the Islanders and the Quebec team.

In 1986, the Flyers got another Vezina Trophy with goaltender Ron Hextall from Brandon, Manitoba who was the third Flyers to win the Vezina Trophy. The Flyers beat the Rangers in six games. The team also defeated the Canadiens, the defending Stanley Cup Champion. However, injuries among the team members made them again a losing team. Despite this, Hexall won the Conn Smythe Trophy.

In 1987-88, the Flyers beat the Pittsburgh teams in seven games, making their way to the Wales Conference Finals.

Phildelphia Flyers: trying times (1989-2000)

The 1989-90 season was not a lucky one for the Flyers. Hextall missed many games due to suspension for attacking Chris Chelios and also due to some injuries. It was also in this season that the Flyers missed the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 1972. Clarke was fired and was replaced by Russ Farwell. In the 1990-1991 season Flyers missed the playoffs. In the 1991-92 season, the Flyers still missed the playoff.

In 1992, the Flyers persuaded Clarke to return to the team as senior vice president. The Flyers then acquired Eric Lindros by trading six players including Steve Duchesne, Peter Forsberg, Roxtall, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, and Chris Simon.

In 1992-93, head coach Bill Dineen was fired and Clarke left again and became the general manager of Florida Panthers. In 1993-94, Terry Simpson was hired as the new head coach. In the 1994-95 season, Bobby Clarke again became the General Manager of the Flyers. Ron Hextall was reacquired from the Islanders. Lindros got the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's MVP. The Flyers lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the New Jersey Devils.

The 1999-2000 season was not a good one for the whole team. Many players were injured, and Roger Neilson, the head coach, was also diagnosed of bone cancer. The strife between Lindros and the Flyers management worsen, which eventually led to Lindros’ removal in the captaincy. As a result, the Flyers lost in a series of games.

Philadelphia Flyers: under the new management

The team faced many losing battlea since 2000. In 2007, the management was heading for the rebuilding of the team to avoid the losses that happened in the past years.