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‘The Flyers Have Won The Stanley Cup!’

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Bobby Clarke, Don Saleski celebrate Stanley Cup victory.
Bobby Clarke and Don Saleski celebrate winning the Stanley Cup.

Old-school Flyers fans remember and rejoice over what happened on May 19, 1974.

They’ll never forget it. Forty-nine years ago today, the Flyers won their first Stanley Cup. Today is the happiest anniversary for the Flyers and their fans.

Details remain crisp in my mind, too. Rick MacLeish deflecting in a Moose Dupont drive from the point. Bernie Parent flawless in net and stopping a huge slap shot from Boston’s Ken Hodge late in the game.

Before the game, Flyers coach Fred Shero wrote on a locker-room blackboard: “Win today, and we walk together forever”. The Flyers won the game, 1-0, and the series, 4-2.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Flyers are going to win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The The Flyers have won the Stanley Cup!”

Those famous words were shouted by legendary Flyers broadcaster Gene Hart as the final seconds of the game expired. The upstart Flyers, only in their seventh year of existence, beat the Big, Bad Bruins in six games. Beat Bobby Orr, beat Phil Esposito and Wayne Cashman and Terry O’Reilly.

The Flyers won all three finals games at the Spectrum and won Game 2 in overtime in Boston, on Bobby Clarke’s goal. They did it with superior goaltending and defense. With timely scoring and some rough stuff, too.

Celebration everywhere

Hart’s call captured perfectly the feeling of the Delaware Valley when the Flyers captured the Cup. Philly went wild.  The suburbs went wild. I lived down the Shore and people were beeping their horns, screaming and hanging out car windows up and down Dune Drive in staid Avalon.

I was way too young, but the Princeton (a popular tavern in Avalon) was packed. People were celebrating  in the streets, on the sidewalks, everywhere.

“Winning the Cup is a dream,” Parent told the Philadelphia Daily News after the game. “When you’re growing up, you try to figure what it would be like to be on a team [that] wins it.

“Now that we’ve won it, it’s not like what I thought. It’s a feeling you can’t buy or describe.”

The Flyers were the first expansion team to win the Cup.

The Flyers’ victory parade was the next day and a crowd estimated at 2 million attended. Those fans and the Flyers walked together that day, and forever.

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