It’s Been 15,000 Days Since the Flyers Won the Stanley Cup

15,000 days since the last Flyers Stanley Cup logo

Image made by @BackhandedDevil

Last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship. It was Cleveland’s first major pro sports championship since 1964 — a 52-year gap since its last championship.

Philadelphia is no longer “cursed” since its victory in the 2008 World Series. But the city’s other teams are really starting to get into long droughts. The Eagles have never won a Super Bowl, and their last NFL Championship was in 1960. The Sixers haven’t won a title since 1983.

The Flyers’ drought now stands at 41 years; their last Stanley Cup was in 1975. And, as Twitter account @SinceFlyersCup notes, today marks 15,000 days since the Flyers last won the Stanley Cup. Read more »

He Was a Flyers Fan. He Won the Stanley Cup With Pittsburgh

Jim Britt holds the Stanley Cup on the ice after the Penguins win

Photo courtesy of Jim Britt

I was watching the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate their Stanley Cup victory when I spotted a familiar face on the ice. There was Jim Britt, with his wife, posing for a photo with the Stanley Cup.

Britt and I were classmates at Holy Ghost Prep. He played on our school’s hockey team, which his dad coached. The Flyers had been to the Stanley Cup Finals just before our freshman year of high school together, and it seemed like the Legion of Doom line would one day bring the Stanley Cup to Philadelphia for the first time in either of our lives.

Sixteen years after we graduated, the Flyers still don’t have a Stanley Cup win since 1975. Jim Britt does.  Read more »

Rick MacLeish, Flyers Legend, Dead at 66

Rick MacLeish

Rick MacLeish, a star center on the Broad Street Bullies championship Flyers teams of the 1970s, has died. The team confirmed the news this morning; MacLeish had been hospitalized for about two months. He had been battling meningitis, along with kidney and liver problems.

“A good father, grandfather, teammate and friend, Rick will be missed by all who were fortunate to come and know him over the years,” Flyers president Paul Holmgren said in a press release. “His happy and friendly demeanor was front and center everywhere Rick went. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Rick’s wife, Charlene, his daughters, Danielle and Brianna, along with his grandchildren. May he rest in peace.”

MacLeish scored 328 goals in a 12-year career with the Flyers — including a 50-goal season in 1972-73 — but it was his exploits in the playoffs that made him a legend. He had 13 goals and 22 points in the Flyers’ first Stanley Cup-winning year in 1974, then had 11 goals and 20 points in their second Cup the following year. Read more »

Flyers, Philly Fans Embarrass Selves in Playoff Loss

Members of the Philadelphia Flyers Ice Crew pick up wristbands that were thrown onto the ice during the third period against the Washington Capitals in game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center.

Members of the Philadelphia Flyers Ice Crew pick up wristbands that were thrown onto the ice during the third period against the Washington Capitals in game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center.

The Philadelphia Flyers and St. Louis Blues once played a game on January 6th of 1972. The Flyers, an expansion squad in its fifth season, were two years away from the first of the franchise’s only two Stanley Cups. It was Fred Shero‘s first year as coach. The Flyers were ahead, 2-0, after two periods, when a riot broke out.

Blues coach Al Arbour — the third employed by St. Louis that season — chased after the ref toward the dressing room. He was complaining about the way the puck was dropped on a face-off earlier in the game. As he berated the ref in the exit runway, a fan reached over and poured a beer over Albour’s head. (Stadium beer was cheaper in those days.)

The incident is recalled in fantastic detail in Glen Macnow and Anthony L. Gargano’s The Great Philadelphia Fan Book. The authors even got Ed Snider to comment on the incident.

“Fans started cursing the Blues and throwing things,” he said. “Then Arbour reached over into the seats and some cop hit him over the head with a billy club. Well, that was it. It became instant mayhem.”

The Blues players rushed to the tunnel entrance, defending their coach. Led by Bob Plager, Blues players rushed into the stands and began fighting fans. One-hundred fifty police officers had to be called in to quell the mayhem. Blues defenseman John Arbour, no relation to the coach, needed 40 stitches. Three Blues players, and coach Arbour, were arrested.

“That was the worst case of police brutality I’ve ever seen or heard about,” Blues owner Sidney Salomon told the Daily News. “It was worse than the riot in Chicago at the convention.” Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo was his usual self: “This community will not tolerate hooliganism. We probably didn’t need our police officers in that situation. I believe our residents could have taken care of the matter on their own.”

Snider bailed the Blues players out of jail. As he told the authors of the book, he was angrier at the way his team reacted than with the fans. The Flyers gave up three goals in the third period and lost to the Blues, 3-2. “I was angry,” Snider said. “Not about the fight, so much as the game. Blowing a two-goal lead made me sick.” The embarrassing fight and loss were on Snider’s 39th birthday. Read more »

Can the Flyers Come Back After a Disappointing Game 1?

Flyers - goal game 1

Washington Capitals center Jay Beagle celebrates after scoring a goal on Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

Things did not go well for the Flyers in their first playoff game last night, a a 2-0 shutout loss to the Washington Capitals.

It’s not entirely surprising — the second wildcard in the Eastern Conference, the Flyers are matched up against a team that had the best record in the NHL’s regular season — though they did come out pretty strong, outshooting the Capitals 11-8 in the first period. They went 0-for-3 on the period’s only power plays, but they looked solid. Had they kept that up, they might have been able to steal Game 1.

No such luck. The team looked listless in the in the final two periods, taking just eight more shots, and only a strong performance in net by Steve Mason and a better-than-usual defensive showing kept them in the game. To make matters worse, Sean Couturier — the Flyers’ best defensive forward — was injured on an Alex Ovechkin check midway through the second period. Couturier is reportedly out for the series. Read more »

The Phone Call From Ed Snider that Terry Murray Will Never Forget

L: Terry Murray (Mark J. Terrill, AP) R: Ed Snider (George Widman, AP)

L: Terry Murray (Mark J. Terrill/AP) R: Ed Snider (George Widman/AP)

Terry Murray’s phone rang in the middle of last summer, after he’d been hired as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres.

He immediately recognized the voice on the other end. Ed Snider, after all, had been part of the soundtrack of Murray’s life for much of the last 40 years.

The new job meant Murray was stepping down as head coach of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, bringing to a close his sixth or seventh stint with the Flyers’ organization, depending on how you want to add up his time as player, coach and scout.

Murray knew the Flyers’ legendary chairman was sick, battling cancer for the second time. But Snider wanted to focus on Murray, to ask about his family and thank him for everything he’d done for the organization over the years.

“He just wished me luck,” Murray, 65, said during a phone interview today. “He said, ‘We’ve been around each other for a long time.’ It was the same kind of conversation we had back in the 1970s. He was the same person, and had the same genuine caring for you as a Flyer and your family.”

After Snider’s family announced on Monday that the sports and business mogul had died at his California home at the age of 83, Murray’s thoughts drifted back to their summertime conversation. Snider had always treated his employees like family, but in hindsight, the phone call now felt more significant. “Just to know that Mr. Snider was thinking of me at that difficult time in his life made it even more special,” he said. Read more »

Behind the Tough Persona, Ed Snider Was Kind, Compassionate

Ed Snider (left) and Bobby Clarke at the 2010 demolition of The Spectrum. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Ed Snider (left) and Bobby Clarke at the 2010 demolition of The Spectrum. Photo | Jeff Fusco

You could get a crippling case of carpal tunnel syndrome trying to list all of Ed Snider‘s accomplishments.

That’s what usually happens on a day like this, when a man of Snider’s immense stature dies — news stories fill with paragraph after paragraph about the professional mountains he conquered, the organizations he improbably brought to life, the honors he collected over the years.

Yes, Snider will forever be known as the wealthy visionary who brought the Flyers to Philadelphia. He was the face of the franchise for nearly 50 years, silver-haired and impeccably dressed, but every bit as hungry for a Stanley Cup championship as orange shirsey-clad diehards who yell at TVs in neighborhood dive bars.

But Snider’s obsession with winning on the ice isn’t what stands out the most in talking with people who knew him well. The anecdotes they shared today, after word spread that Snider had died in California at age 83 from a second bout with cancer, offered a glimpse at a kind and compassionate figure who sometimes emerged from behind a tough-as-nails public persona. Read more »

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