Throughout the 1960s and into the early part of the 1970s, the City of Philadelphia had a well-earned reputation for terrible sports teams. After the Sixers won their championship in 1967 with stars Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham, they traded Chamberlain in 1968 to the Los Angeles Lakers, then set an NBA record five years later as the NBA team with the fewest wins, most losses in a single season. The year the Sixers won their championship in 1967 was also the year the city’s new ice hockey team completed its first season in the NHL. The Philadelphia Flyers were one of the first six expansion teams to join the six original teams in 1966.
As a new team, they were given several NHL veterans, but struggled in the first few years of its existence. Perhaps the most important draft pick in their history came in 1969, when in the second round they drafted an under-sized, overachieving diabetic out of Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada. At the time, it seemed a bit of a gamble, but the gamble paid off big in the next few years.
At the start of the 1970s, the Boston Bruins dominated the NHL with their brand of physical hockey. Dubbed The Big, Bad Bruins, the team was feared by most teams throughout the league. To challenge this intimidating group of players out of Bean Town, the Flyers went out and brought in several players to counter their rivals to the north. Such players as Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Andre “Moose” DuPont, Bob “The Hound” Kelly, “Cowboy” Bill Flett, and Don “Big Bird” Saleski were the perfect addition to a team now captained by that 1969 draft choice, Bobby Clark. Additionally, other players to include Rick MacLeish, Reggie Leech, Jim and Joe Watson, Barry Ashbee, Ed Van Impe, and Bernard Marcel Parent in the net, helped to round out what was to become one of the fiercest NHL teams to ever don a pair of skates. Coached by the eccentric and innovative Fred Shero, The Philadelphia Flyers proved to be the one team in the NHL that could stand toe-to-toe with The Bruins. They introduced “Goon Hockey” and proudly accepted the sobriquet “The Broad Street Bullies”! And fans in and around Philadelphia loved them!
It was on this date, on May 19, 1974, that The Philadelphia Flyers won the first of their two consecutive Stanley Cups. They defeated the Boston Bruins for that championship, becoming the first expansion team to win the NHL’s championship title. The players and coach on that team became legend in a highly competitive, blue-collar town that had been starved for a championship and some semblance of dignity in the sports world.
The Philadelphia Flyers remarkable achievement that year was the starting point of one of Philadelphia’s proudest moments. By the end of the 1970s, all four of Philadelphia’s sports franchises came to be major players in their respective leagues.
In 1980, The Philadelphia Eagles, Sixers, Flyers and Phillies all went to the finals, with The Phillies winning their first World Series. A town that had been so long referred to by outsiders as The City of Losers proudly hung a banner across Broad Street that read The City of Winners.
As a tribute to The Flyers first Stanley Cup, and to The City of Winners, we look at some delicious recipes that are commonly associated with Philly. Look at the images below and click on the image(s) that appeal to you to get a delicious recipe for that dish. Then get in touch with your Quaker Valley Foods Specialist for pricing and availability on all of the items you’ll need to make an unforgettable meal!