The Full Spectrum

An oral history

Ed Snider: Some tarpaulin came off, and there was a hole in the roof. We could have fixed it overnight, but it became a political football. There was no structural defect. We had to play our last eight games on the road and refund all the money.

Howard Eskin: The night of my graduation, there was a torrential downpour. The people sitting up there had a foot of water. Obviously, the roof wasn’t completely fixed. I have a piece of the roof somewhere. When it blew off, I went down there and got it.

Ed Snider: We were really beaten up in our first playoff series against St. Louis [in 1969]. I developed a philosophy in hockey — we may not be able to skate with them, but goddamn it, we’ll find people who can fight with them. So we made the decision that no team was ever going to intimidate the Philadelphia Flyers.

Bob Clarke, Flyers senior vice president/former Flyers player and general manager: I came in ’69, and we’d been physically abused for a while. All of a sudden, we’ve got [Bob] Kelly, we’ve got [Andre] Dupont, and we’re abusing other teams. It was quite enjoyable.

Dave “Sign Man” Leonardi, Flyers season-ticket holder: I started going to games in 1970, and like all good Philly fans, I’d yell, but it would bounce off the glass and nobody could hear me. So I brought paper and magic markers and made signs, and as the Broad Street Bullies prevailed, it just took off from there. Someone suggested an eye chart, and I thought about how to make it for a year and a half. At the bottom, it read “Bad call” and “You’re hopeless.”

Lauren Hart, singer: My mom and dad [Hall of Fame Flyers broadcaster Gene Hart] brought me to games as an infant. I was his daughter, but I was just as star-struck by him, because everybody loved him.

Ed Snider: Hearing Kate Smith sing “God Bless America” still sends tingles through you. Her statue is out there — we’re going to move it [when the Spectrum is demolished next year]. I was a pallbearer at her funeral. Kate Smith and Gene Hart were both emblematic of what this building was.

Bill Barber, Flyers scouting consultant/former Flyers player and coach: Us winning in ’74 — it had been a long time since the city had a winner, and I think we stole the show as a sports team here. That team has never been forgotten.

Bob Clarke
: Fred Shero wrote it on the blackboard [before Game Six of the 1974 Stanley Cup finals]: “Win together today and we will walk together forever.” The significance of it became important after we won. [The locker-room celebration] was out of control, almost. Our families were there, a lot of fathers. Then the wives got in. It was just huge. The fans really became part of our whole success story. And here we are, 30 years later, and all the players are still friends, you know? Freddie was right.

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