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Lou Nolan, a Philadelphia treasure, says it ‘blows me away’ to be honored by Flyers

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Lou Nolan, Steve Coates, Philadelphia Flyers
Lou Nolan (left) and radio broadcaster Steve Coates at the Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in 2012.tser

Lou Nolan is a Philadelphia treasure.

He is the only person who has been with the Philadelphia Flyers from their inception in 1967 to today.

He is as much a part of this franchise as Bernie Parent, Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, and all the other heroes of their long-ago Stanley Cup championships.

After all those years, he is going to have his night in the spotlight later this week.

Nolan will be honored for his 50 years as the Flyers’ public-address announcer before Saturday’s home game against Anaheim.

The ceremony will start at 7:25 p.m., and fans are asked to get there early. There will be a special pregame presentation, along with some surprise guests to help Nolan and his family – his wife, Ellen, sons Jeff and Matt, and daughter-in-law Adrienne – celebrate his amazing journey with the Flyers.

’50 iconic years’

“For more than five decades, Lou Nolan’s voice and presence has been an essential part of what it means to experience a Flyers game here in Philadelphia,” said Dave Scott, chairman of the Flyers’ parent company, Comcast Spectacor. “Lou isn’t going anywhere, but we want to celebrate the 55 years he’s spent with the Flyers and the 50 iconic years he’s served as our public-address announcer.”

Nolan spent his first five seasons working as an assistant to Joe Kadlec, the Philadelphia Flyers’ public-relations director. The last 50 years, he has been the familiar voice as the Flyers’ public-address announcer.

“The Flyers are going on the PECOOOOOOOOOOOO power play!” has been ingrained in hundreds of thousands of minds.

When you think of long-time Philadelphia sports voices over the years, the names that immediately pop into my head are Nolan, Bill Campbell, Dave Zinkoff, Merrill Reese, Gene Hart, Harry Kalas, By Saam, Rich Ashburn, and Dan Baker, in no particular order. I’m sure I’m omitting a few. Maybe you have your own that you would add.

Jim Jackson, the Flyers’ terrific TV play-by-play announcer, and Steve Coates, the team’s radio color commentator and resident jokester, will host the pre-game ceremony that will honor Nolan on the ice. Flyers players from different eras will be there, and video tributes will be played throughout the game.

Jersey salute

During warm-ups, the Flyers will wear custom-made jerseys with NOLAN and the number 50. The players will wear a patch during the game, commemorating Nolan on their jerseys.

“I am honored. I am truly, truly honored,” Nolan said when the Flyers announced they were going to salute him. “For someone who has conducted so many on-ice celebrations as I have down through the years, and now to go out there and not to conduct it, but be the subject of it, it blows me away.”

Nolan is the NHL’s longest-serving public-address announcer, having called over 2,000 combined regular-season and playoff games, including the two championships seasons at the Spectrum in 1973-74 and 1974-75.

He has been the P.A. voice for the 1976 and 1992 NHL All-Star Games, and has voiced numerous national events, such as the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the 2012 Winter Classic, the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four, and the 2019 Stadium Series.

Five years ago, I was honored to write If These Walls Could Talk: Philadelphia Flyers with Lou. We had a great time putting together the book, which is Lou’s personal diary of his fascinating career. (I will run an excerpt from the book later this week.)

Here’s the link if you want to read Lou’s behind-the-scene stories on a variety of topics, along with a heartfelt foreward from Mr. May, Bernie Parent.

On a personal note, Lou is the epitome of class and good humor, a great family man, and one of the most approachable people you will ever meet.

Here’s to 50 more years, my friend.

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