Fly­ers’ sil­ver sea­son tinged with sad­ness

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Dan Gel­ston AP Sports Writer

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.

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