As an NHL franchise to enter its 54th season, the Philadelphia Flyers are rich in history. From entering the league as a member of the first expansion squad, to the first expansion squad to win the Stanley Cup, to over 2,000 victories in franchise history, many players have played. a key role in overall success.
While only a select few entered the Hockey Hall of Fame playing their careers primarily in Philadelphia, and only six players received the ultimate honor of retiring their numbers, 25 honorees entered the Flyers Hall of Fame.
It has been more than five years since the last inductee, Jimmy watson, entered the Flyers Hall of Fame on February 29, 2016. That will change this coming season.
Last Tuesday, the Flyers officially announced their intention to induct at least one new member to the Flyers Hall of Fame this coming season and a new voting process and committees to do so.
The selection process is made up of two committees – first a nominating committee and then a voting committee. These committees include current Flyers Hall of Fame members, other Flyer alumni, Flyers front office members, broadcasters and members of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA).
The nominating committee will include a list of finalists for review after review of former players and members of the organization. The voting committee will then vote to determine the inductees. The number of inductees will be based on the votes of the finalists and is not limited to one inductee.
The finalists were named Tuesday morning, with six members of the Flyers’ long and successful franchise ready for a possible induction later this season. Here’s a closer look at the six and their case for joining the names in the chevrons.
Simon won – For 11 of his 14 years in the NHL, Simon Gagné wore the Flyers uniform. Gagné entered the scene in 1999-2000 as a 19-year-old rookie and scored 48 points in 80 games, including 20 goals. Gagné has reached 30 goals four times in his career and surpassed 40 twice, ending his career with the Flyers with 264 goals, the 10th in Flyers history and 535 points in 691 games. His games played are ranked 13th in Flyers history and his points total is ranked 12th.
Paul Holmgren – While many younger fans will remember him only for his managerial career, Paul Holmgren has been a part of the Flyers’ organization for more than four decades. From his playing days to his role as head coach to his journey through the management ranks as a scout, director of scouting, assistant general manager and eventually general manager and team chairman, Holmgren’s overall dedication and his involvement in the franchise make him worthy of such an honor.
Bob kelly – Chances are, if you’ve been to a Flyers game, you’ve probably met Bob “The Hound” Kelly. As a player he was a crusher who embodied the city of Philadelphia, and his greatest moment wearing orange and black was the deciding goal in Game 6 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Final, winning the Flyers’ second consecutive Stanley Cup. After his playing career, Kelly has been a staple in the community as a team ambassador. His continued representation of the team is certainly reason enough for him to be welcomed into the Flyers Hall of Fame.
Lou nolan –There are certainly several members of the Flyers Hall of Fame who have never taken the ice for the team, from founder and president Ed Snider to team president Joe Scott to general manager Keith Allen and the head coach Fred Shero. There is another member of the Flyers family who has been a part of the arena experience for as long as the team has been around. Since 1972, Lou Nolan has been the public announcer for the Flyers, the voice of the Spectrum and the Wells Fargo Center. From announcing familiar goals and telling fans that the Flyers are going to “the PECO Power Play” to bring historic moments in Flyers history to retirement ceremonies and Hall of Fame inductions. Famous among the Flyers, this long-standing staple in Flyer history deserves a place among the rest of the team’s legends. Nolan is an original Flyer, who started with the team in 1967 as a press assistant.
Mark Recchi – In the history of the Flyers, only three members of the Top 10 for assists and points are not in the Hall of Fame of the Flyers. Two of them are excluded for good reason – their careers are still active. Mark Recchi is the exception. Recchi played 10 seasons with the Flyers, amassing 232 goals and 395 assists for 627 points in 602 games. This ranks him sixth in assists and ninth for points in franchise history. The 2017 Hockey Hall of Fame should be an obvious candidate.
Rick tocchet – Rick Tocchet entered the league and the Flyers at the age of 20 in the 1984-85 season and immediately marked the spirits of a team that reached the Stanley Cup final that season. For part of the next seven seasons, Tocchet was a fixture for the Flyers. At the end of his career, he returned to the Flyers and concluded his 11 seasons with the Orange and Black with 232 goals and 508 points in 621 games. Tocchet is also the franchise leader in an infamous statistic: penalty minutes, totaling 1,815 for his career.
The Flyers Hall of Fame currently has 25 inductees. Here they are, listed by year starting with the inaugural class of 1988.
- 1988 – Bob Clarke and Bernie Parent
- 1989 – Bill Barber, Ed Snider and Keith Allen
- 1990 – Rick MacLeish and Fred Shero
- 1991 – Barry Ashbee and Gary Dornhoefer
- 1992 – Reggie Leach and Gene Hart
- 1993 – Joe Scott and Ed Van Impe
- 1994 – Tim Kerr
- 1996 – Joe Watson
- 1999 – Brian Propp
- 2001 – Mark Howe
- 2004 – Dave Poulin
- 2008 – Ron Hextall
- 2009 – Dave Schultz
- 2014 – Eric Lindros and John LeClair
- 2015 – Eric Desjardins and Rod Brind’Amour
- 2016 – Jimmy Watson
Kevin Durso is a Flyers Insider for 97.3 ESPN and Flyers Editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on twitter @Kevin_Durso.