Every franchise has a first.
And for the Flyers, Bill "Sudsy" Sutherland held a very special distinction: scoring the franchise's first goal in 1967.
Sutherland, 82, died on Sunday. The cause of death was not disclosed.
"Bill was an original member of this organization who helped set the standard of success and what it meant to be a Flyer," Flyers president Paul Holmgren said in a statement Monday.
"He came to the Flyers as a veteran and played a crucial part in leading the team to a first-place finish in the West Division in the very first season. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time."
Sutherland, who played on the Flyers' expansion team that first season under Keith Allen, led the club with 20 goals in 1967-68.
"He was a pretty smart player," Lou Angotti, the Flyers' first captain, said Monday in an interview with CSNPhilly.com. "One of those players who seemed to see the ice very well.
"Smart with the puck and very creative. A good player, too. I would put him right up there with the top five on our club."
Sutherland's first goal in Flyers history came on Oct. 11, 1967, in a 5-1 loss to the California Golden Seals on the West Coast.
Ironically, he also scored the franchise's first goal on home ice at the Spectrum on Oct. 19, 1967, in a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"Bill Sutherland was the consummate pro," Joe Watson recalled Monday. "He was a man's man out on the ice. He wasn't especially fast but he was a very intelligent hockey player, who handled the puck well, made good plays and read situations very well."
Sutherland almost didn't get to play that first game at the Spectrum.
"We're coming through the building and the security guards were there and we are all walking through and all of us are looking kind of young and Billy was looking older and the security guard says, 'Where are you going?'" Watson said. "Billy says, 'I'm a player.' And the security guard says, 'You can't be. You're too old.' He was 36 at the time.
"But anyway, I'm glad the Flyers brought him in because he scored the only goal in that game and we beat Pittsburgh, 1-0. Rest in peace, my friend. He was a real pro and a good man."
Sutherland played parts of four seasons in Philadelphia, briefly playing in Toronto in 1968-69, then returning to the Flyers the following season.
In all, his career as a centerman spanned seven years in the NHL with 70 goals and 128 points in 250 games. He scored 42 goals with 71 points as a Flyer.
Sutherland finished his hockey career with the Winnipeg Jets in the WHA.
Before becoming a Flyer, he played in the Montreal Canadiens' farm system from 1962-67.