Legends: Bernie Parent Has a Secret

Hall of Fame Flyers goalie Bernie Parent has endured a career-ending injury, ­alcoholism, divorce, and the death of his star pupil. So why is he so happy?

Back on board The French Connection, Parent has a confession to make. It’s May 19, 1974, game six of his first Stanley Cup finals, and he’s nine seconds away from shutting out the Boston Bruins at the Spectrum. Nine seconds away from Philadelphia’s first hockey championship and his own immortality. There’s a face-off at the opposite end of the ice from Parent’s net, leaving Boston almost no hope of breaking the 1-0 shutout and forcing overtime — until the puck ends up on the stick of Bobby Orr, the Bruins’ fearsome sniper. Parent didn’t see Orr blast a shot the length of the rink, just wide of the Flyers goal, because Parent was staring up at the clock, watching time run out. “I didn’t know where the puck was, man!” he says. “If his shot is on net, it’s a goal. Who knows what happens then. Maybe we don’t win a championship. It just shows you how the universe works — you believe, you believe, you believe! The question is, is there a power that takes over? My answer is, absolutely yes!”

You won’t find memorabilia in the cabin of Parent’s boat; instead, what he carries with him from his playing days is that unshakable optimism. “As a goaltender,” says his daughter, Kim, “if you have one bad period, you have to shake it off or else you’ll lose the whole game. There were times when I could hear my dad’s voice when I was reading The Secret. The Stanley Cup was happiness, but now, it’s deeper. He’s at peace with himself.” But the book hasn’t transformed Parent; it simply connected the philosophical dots in his mind. The tough times, they’re all just a few bad goals. What made Parent one of the greatest goalies is what keeps him so happily afloat today — never letting one lousy period ruin the whole game. “When I look back at my life,” he says, “without realizing it, I was living The Secret.”

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  • ws

    hi, sunday, i was at the church as you while watching your grandson receive his frist holy communion.i am still a fan of yours, stay well, be happy. just one of your many fans.