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Heading Back in Time for Our Future Flyers Adventure



Sam Carchidi, Bernie Parent (minus his Cup rings) and Jeff Hare discuss the upcoming Bullies TV project.

As a teenager, I scraped together $40 — an astronomical fee for someone who was going to school and working part-time at Sun Ray Drugs — to buy a scalped ticket to Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals.

As it turned out, it was the best $40 I ever spent. It got me into the percolating Spectrum to watch Bernie Parent and the Philadelphia Flyers blank Boston, and Rick MacLeish score the Goal That Will Live in Philly Lore.

The Flyers stunned the favored Bruins, 1-0, on that Sunday afternoon, winning their first of two straight Stanley Cups.

Nearly a half century later, my journey has taken me back to those days of Parent, MacLeish, Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Dave Schultz and the beloved Broad Street Bullies.

I am beyond excited to announce some personal news: Director Jeff Hare — who was a 10-year-old, Flyers-loving kid from Roxborough in 1974, long before he became an L.A. moviemaker — and myself are collaborating on a 10-part TV series on the Broad Street Bullies.

This is not a documentary. Actors will play the characters, and, if you followed the Flyers back in the day, you know there were plenty of “characters” on those great teams.

The series, which may go longer than 10 parts, starts in 1967, when the franchise was born and most Philadelphians thought icing was atop their Tastykakes, not part of a hockey game.

The Flyers and the late, great Gene Hart quickly educated them.

Fans wouldn’t leave

The series will end following the injury-ravaged Flyers’ loss to Montreal in the 1976 Cup Finals. The fans in the Spectrum, you may recall, stood and applauded and wouldn’t leave because they were so appreciative for the remarkable run.

Earlier that year, the Philadelphia Flyers became North America’s darlings by beating the legendary Red Army (CSKA Moscow). Even Clarence Campbell, the NHL president who hated the Flyers because of their intimidating style, was cheering for the Orange and Black in hockey’s version of the Cold War.

You know what happened between the Flyers’ birth and the monumental win over the Russians: Outside of Philadelphia, they became the most hated Stanley Cup champions in NHL history. Twice.

This TV series — most of the interviews have been done, and the writing is just starting — is about more than the Cup wins. Much more.

Behind-the-scenes stories

The Cup triumphs have been well-documented. The behind-the-scenes stories surrounding the players, their families, and club personnel? Not so much.

Our TV series will explore the off-ice personalities of the, oh, so colorful players and staff members. You will learn some surprising things about Ed Snider, the franchise’s adored co-founder, and Fred Shero, the team’s quirky coach. You will learn how the players’ wives helped hold those amazingly close-knit teams together.

Hockey will be in the background.

You will learn about the true brotherhood the players had for each other, and how Clarke became perhaps the greatest captain the league has ever known. You will learn how Schultz hated to fight, about Snider’s lavish and generous parties, about how a teammate calmly lit Bill Flett’s beard on fire at Rexy’s, then celebrated by buying a round for everybody.

At the core, is the remarkable love story between the fans and the Flyers, one that is the thread that will hold this series together.

Before I close, I want to sincerely thank the Flyers for believing in our project and for being a huge part of it. Special thanks to Sean Coit, Jim Ermilio, John Master, and Dan Hilferty. Also, a heartfelt “thank you” to the Flyers of that era; they have been beyond gracious with their time.

I also want to thank our executive producer, Tony Ciabattoni, a Delaware native who is perhaps the most loyal Philadelphia sports fan living on the West Coast.

Hail, PHN

To be a part of this wonderful adventure, I am stepping down from Philly Hockey Now, though I may write occasional columns on the Flyers. I want to thank Dan Kingerski and Joe Steigerwald for giving me the opportunity about 16 months ago.

We did great things here, and the new staff will continue to cover the Flyers with passion and pride. Please continue reading.

In closing, thanks for reading all these years, both here and at The Inquirer. And if you have any anecdotes you’d like to share about the Broad Street Bullies days, please send me an email at Who knows? Your stories may be an impetus to one of our TV episodes, or perhaps one of the chapters in the accompanying book being published by Triumph and tentatively called “Beloved Bullies.”

Our story is just as much about you, the fans, as it the brash and talented players who put Philadelphia on the hockey map.


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