Flyers

Flyers

Rod Brind’Amour never had any intention of being a coach in the NHL, assistant, head or otherwise.

“I kind of fell into this,” said the Carolina Hurricanes assistant, who became the latest entry into the Flyers Hall of Fame on Monday night. He is the 24th person to receive this honor.

“When I was done, I thought OK, I definitely want to stay in the game. I don’t want to re-educate myself and have to go off into the real world and get a real job.

“I know the game of hockey, I know it really well and I thought originally I would get more into the management side, putting it together. It just fell this way due to the needs of what we have here.”

Former general manager Jimmy Rutherford brought him on board nearly five years ago. Brind’Amour admits it’s been an eye-opener because things behind the bench look very different from a player’s perspective.

“When I got into this, I thought coaching would be easy,” Brind’Amour said. “I thought as a player, these guys, what do they know, you aren’t out there playing. Then you get behind the scenes and see all the preparation that goes into it, and nowadays all the video work that takes place, good or bad.”

He’s still not certain he wants to ever be an NHL head coach.

“I couldn’t even answer that now. It’s not even in my thoughts,” he said. “It’s something everybody wants -- to be in charge of something -- but it’s a lot of work in today’s game and you have to be on top of it and willing to take all the criticism that goes with it.”

Brind’Amour spent 21 years in the NHL (nine here). One moment that stands out for him was the 1992 All-Star Game, played at the Spectrum. He spoke of that during his speech on Monday night.

It reinforced in his mind what it meant to be a Flyer and how the fans in Philadelphia regarded a player’s work ethic.

“I had only been here a little while and the ovation that I got going out on that ice after only being a Flyer for a little … that was special,” Brind’Amour said. “To me, what was special was the way the crowd, and this is the way they are, they demand a lot out of you.

“That’s the way I felt was if you gave that honest effort every night, they left you alone. You know what I mean, if you were losing or weren’t playing up to par, if you gave them their money’s worth, you were OK.”

Brind’Amour was honored in a pregame ceremony in which he was joined by his family plus former teammates Chris Therien, John LeClair and Ron Hextall.

“I wasn’t even sure if you guys would remember me,” he told the crowd.

His speech, given without prepared text, was heartfelt and among the best the team has had. He thanked both his first coach, Paul Holmgren, and his personal confidante, Bill Barber, for showing him the way when he first came to the Flyers.

He spoke fondly of club chairman Ed Snider and what the Flyers' owner meant to him early in his career and late, as well.

“He really cares, not just about his current players, but his former players,” Brind’Amour said. “I wanted him to know it was a true honor to play for him as many years as I did.”

Brind’Amour called Hextall, the “most competitive” hockey player he had ever played with, “chasing” guys with his stick, who celebrated goals they scored on him.

That’s the kind of attitude the Flyers could use a little more of these days, but we digress.

He also thanked Bob Clarke for raising the standard by which players were expected to perform in Philadelphia and kiddingly chided him, saying, “He had everything to do with me leaving Philadelphia.”

A classy, brisk speech by a player who should have been a Flyer for life.