Flyers Hall of Fame Celebrations Showcase Organization’s Loyalty, Class

The Philadelphia Flyers will honor Rick Tocchet and Paul Holmgren with inductions into the franchise Hall of Fame on Tuesday night before their game against the Calgary Flames. The Hall of Fame Alumni Game took place at the Wells Fargo Center last night, featuring Team Tocchet and Team Holmgren against each other. The events, the inductees, and the conversation among the alumni surrounding the game showcase the class and camaraderie that comes with being a member of the Flyers organization.

Team Holmgren survived a comeback attempt from Team Tocchet during the third period last night. They held on to win 6-5 behind a hat trick by Scottie Upshall. War veteran and Flyers Warriors goaltender Bill Duffy closed out the game between the pipes for Team Tocchet, and Mike Knuble played through a gruesome shot to the face to prove he still has his toughness at age 49.

Tocchet and Holmgren: Hall of Fame Inductees 

Tocchet played in parts of 11 seasons in two stints with the Flyers from 1984-1992 and from 2000-2002. He finished with 508 points and a franchise record 1815 penalty minutes (PIM). He played in every playoff game during both runs to the Stanley Cup Finals against Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers in 1985 and 1987. Flyers Alumni President and former defenseman Brad Marsh summarized Tocchet’s reputation as a heart and soul player in a recent interview with Ariel Melendez of Broad Street Buzz.

“Rick Tocchet just identifies so much with the Flyers. He was drafted for a specific reason. He was tough. He was gritty. He could score. He played hard. He showed up…He is what the Philadelphia Flyers are all about.”

-Brad Marsh

Holmgren has served the organization as a player, coach, general manager, and president for over 40 years in total. He played in 500 regular season games and 67 playoff games from 1976-1984. He sits second in franchise history with 1600 penalty minutes. He transitioned into roles as an assistant coach and a head coach for seven seasons before moving to the front office. The recent inductee of the US Hockey Hall of Fame constructed the Flyers teams that won seven playoff series in five seasons from 2007-2012. 

Flyers of All Eras Share Common Bond

The late Ed Snider, the Flyers founder and long-time chairman, established a reputable organization based on loyalty and unity up until his unfortunate passing in 2016. The respect and timelessness of Flyers hockey rang true through every conversation the alumni took part in over the past few weeks. 

Holmgren discussed “the common bond” of players who wore orange and black at some point during their NHL careers. 

“It’s easy to just walk into the room with any era of Flyers because you’ve lived it. You’ve been through it. You’ve been a part of it.”

-Paul Holmgren

He emphasized the feeling of camaraderie during alumni events and how the unity spans so many different eras of players who have given their “sweat and blood” to the franchise. Joe Watson and Reggie Leach, both in their 70s, laced up the skates to represent the era of the Broad Street Bullies. Legends of the 1980s like Mark Howe and Brian Propp played alongside 1990s stars Eric Lindros and John LeClair. More recent alumni like Simon Gagne and Scott Hartnell infused some “youth” into the dressing rooms last night. Even former enforcers like Dave Brown, Donald Brashear, Todd Fedoruk, and Riley Cote got involved to celebrate the franchise’s top-two PIM leaders and stay true to the Broad Street Bullies identity.

Related: Philadelphia Flyers History Trivia

Danny Briere discussed the loyalty the organization has to its alumni and how most other NHL organizations can’t say they take care of former players as well as Philadelphia does. Scott Mellanby took it one step further with an interesting hyperbole. 

“It’s almost like being in the mob. You’re in, and as long as you are loyal to the family, you’ll be a Flyer and taken care of forever.”

-Scott Mellanby

Head coach Fred Shero famously wrote “Win today and we walk together forever” on a chalkboard in the Philadelphia locker room before they defeated the Boston Bruins in the sixth and final game of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final. It’s unlikely that he knew how seriously his players would carry this message into the future to maintain the culture of one of the most reputable organizations in the NHL.