Flyers’ silver season tinged with sadness
Ed Snider created a Philadelphia Flyers franchise stocked with so many great moments, all it takes is a simple crane of the neck toward the banners hanging from the rafters to rekindle 50 years of memories.
Banners celebrate division titles (remember the Patrick Division?), conference championships and numbers of retired greats. Bernie Parent. Mark Howe. Bobby Clarke. All among the Flyers immortalized with one of sport’s highest honors.
Two banners have been raised for each of the Flyers’ Stanley Cup championships.
Walk around the Wells Fargo Center and see concourses stuffed with history; every hat — and even a bra or two — tossed on the ice for a hat trick, plaques, newspaper clippings, a scroll in honor of all 112 individual and business season ticket holders of the Flyers’ first season in 196768 are on display. The Flyers have long been known for their ode to the past, yet what’s in public view barely scratched the ice of what the team has preserved.
“Ed Snider was very proud of the history of the Flyers from Day 1,” said archivist Brian McBride. “They saved and collected stuff from the get-go. You don’t often think of things as history when it’s happening, and then it’s history, and you think, we should have saved that.”
Take a winding staircase to reach what employees dub “the bat cave,” and Flyers history is stacked floorto-ceiling with programs, magazines, slides, photos and sports sections that have documented 50 years of history.
The Flyers (1-1-1) open the home slate of their 50th anniversary season Thursday against Anaheim for the first time in team history without Snider. Snider died of cancer in April.
His foresight to save, save, save, helped turn space inside the arena into a sort-of sports edition of “Hoarders,” only with a tinge of nostalgia sweeping through every step of would could stand for the franchise’s cluttered Hall of Fame.