Flyers

Flyers

When the Flyers won the franchise's first Stanley Cup title back in 1974, the city of Philadelphia was craving a winner.

Like badly.

The Phillies had yet to win a World Series, the Eagles were without a championship since 1960 or a winning season since 1966, and the Sixers had won 25 games after a nine-win season the year prior.

"It was really kind of new — championships were pretty new to Philadelphia, or at least it had been championship starved," former Flyer and current broadcaster Bill Clement said Monday on NBC Sports Philadelphia's Flyers Talk podcast. “We were the breath of fresh air and it happened at the right time — a city struggling with its self-esteem.”

And, boy, did Philly breathe it in. Maybe a little too much? No way, not possible with this city, but Clement will never forget just how wild Philadelphia went over the 1973-74 Flyers.

When Clement, Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent, Rick MacLeish and company finished off the Bruins, 1-0, in Game 6, it was mayhem at the Spectrum as the Flyers celebrated their first-ever Cup.

The celebration was unlike anything you'd see today and Clement explained why:

A lot of my teammates and I have talked about this — there was such an overdosing of emotion by people in Philadelphia that when we won at home in Game 6, people started crawling over the glass and coming onto the ice. There were hundreds of people on the ice. You go back and look at the video, we didn’t get a chance to skate around with the Cup, with Clarkie and Bernie and all of us together. You can see Dave Schultz, me and a couple of other guys just taking people and throwing them down onto the ice to get them out of the way because people would come up and latch onto us, grab onto you and say, ‘We did it! We did it! We did it!’

 

And I get it, I get it. But it was great when we finally got into our locker room because we could be together and be by ourselves. By ourselves, yeah, everybody came into the room; not the fans. But so many guys that took off part of their gear, they had it stolen. I kept my jersey on for three hours after the game and I knew where my gloves were. It was surrealistic in so many ways, those are little things after the fact, some say, ‘Hey, did you get your sweater?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I got my sweater, where’s yours?’ ‘I don’t know, it disappeared from the locker room.’

Guess everybody wanted a piece of that championship, huh?

Clement and the Flyers won again in 1975. The organization remains in pursuit of championship No. 3.

Clement was traded the summer after the club's second title. He went on to play for the Washington Capitals, Atlanta Flames and Calgary Flames.

He'll always cherish his first four NHL seasons in Philly.

“It was fantastic," Clement said of the championships. "Nothing’s better than winning, nothing is better than losing together and everybody feeling responsible and knowing that you’re going to turn it around — as a group being really closely knit.”

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