In honor of the Philadelphia Flyers' 50th anniversary, we caught up with some of the biggest names related to the franchise to ask them about their favorite moments of the game.
After a long hiatus, hockey season is finally back. The Philadelphia Flyers will host their home opener October 20 against the Anaheim Ducks, and officially commemorate the Flyer's 50th season as a national hockey team.
To honor this important season, our beloved "Broad Street Bullies" will don specially-made uniforms made in gold for the "golden anniversary," and a new emblem. To also pay tribute to the passing of Ed Snider this year, players will also wear helmets featuring the late owner's signature, and the words, "A Flyer forever." Fans can also look forward to five special heritage nights throughout the season, which will host special guests and alumni in attendance for pre-game ceremonies and more surprises.
Ahead of the home opener, we chatted with five of the franchise's biggest names to reminisce about some of their favorite memories of the game in the past.
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers Captain
"I think going to the Stanley Cup Finals was for sure the greatest memory. That is the closest I’ve been to winning the Stanley Cup. You grow up as a kid playing hockey and wanting to play in the National Hockey League and winning the Stanley Cup, and I plan on doing that sometime soon."
Lou Nolan, Philadelphia Flyers PA Announcer (for the last 44 years)
"Over the years, there have been many memorable moments for me as Voice of the Spectrum (now the Wells Fargo Center). But, none of those instances—including the victory over the Soviet Union Red Army team—can top the date of May 19, 1974, as the Flyers beat the Boston Bruins 1-0 for the first Stanley Cup. Boston was the class of the league, and many thought they would run roughshod over the Flyers—the Broad Street Bullies were not going to let that happen. Winning game two in Boston on May 5 in overtime on a Bob Clarke goal, and the subsequent two home games at The Spectrum convinced the Flyers they were going to win that series and the cup. Combining their toughness and the incredible amount of talent assembled by GM Keith Allen, and coached by Fred Shero, the Flyers took The Stanley Cup in six games on a tip-in goal by Rick MacLeish off a first period shot from the point by Andre 'Moose' Dupont. It was all they needed as they got a shutout by the legendary goaltender and NHL Hall of Famer, Bernie Parent. All I can say is having the opportunity to drink from The Stanley Cup is something I will never forget. That is, without question, my best memory."
Brad Marsh, Flyers Alum (1981-1988) & Current President of Flyers Alumni Association
"I have been asked many times by Flyers fans what my favorite memory was of wearing the orange and black. To pick a favorite moment is far too hard—there are way too many of them! But what I think about the most is the Stanley Cup finals. When you play professional sports, the object is to win the championship. In my case, my goal and my teammates' goal was to win the Stanley Cup. We fell short on two occasions, losing to the Edmonton Oilers in 1985 and 1987. So my Flyers highlight(s) both end on a very sour note! I remember each game of each final like they were played yesterday. I have often said that we had a better 'team' but Edmonton had better 'superstars': Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Fuhr, Kurri, Anderson—all of them Hall of Famers. We skated with them, fought them, and battled with them for 12 hockey games over the two finals, and in each of those 12 games, we were always the underdogs. As a team we accomplished so much and I am very proud of that, but I just wish that it had a better ending."
Lauren Hart, Flyers National Anthem Singer (since 1997)
"My favorite memory is when my father (Gene Hart) had been inducted into the Hall of Fame in Toronto. When we came back, they were honoring him that evening. He escorted me on the ice to sing the national anthem. So he and I were out on the ice at the same time, and now I have a picture of that that sits right in my living room. It was just an amazing sort of moment for me to be able to share that great award for him, and to feel how the Philadelphia fans received him—and how much they loved him."
Joe Watson, Flyers Alumni, 1967-1978
"It goes back to our Stanley Cup game against Boston. We won the sixth game to win the Stanley Cup. I was the last guy to touch the puck on the ice—the puck was shot down to Bobby Orr who shot the puck down towards the net, and I got near the puck. But as soon as you touch the puck, the whistle is supposed to blow. Well I didn’t touch the puck because there was no Boston player near me. So when I eventually touched it, there were four seconds to go in the game, and by that time people were coming over the boards and the glass. There was a guy named Terry Crisp who jumped off his bench and grabbed the puck, and to this day he still has the puck! I didn’t get the damn thing—I wish I had gotten it, but he still has it. It was a great memory I’ll never forget. I have a lot of memories of the facility and everything else, but that's one of the memories that really sticks out in my mind."
Ron Hextall, Former Player, Current General Manager
"Personal greatest moments I think [was] winning game six in 1987 against Edmonton Oilers at the Spectrum—the excitement during the game, the noise in the building, and the excitement trying to get out to your car afterwards—you know, all the fans in the street. Those are big moments."