Philadelphia Flyers History
The Philadelphia Flyers are one of five teams in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Flyers play at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and wear uniforms of orange, white, and black.
The Flyers have been one of the NHL’s most consistent teams, reaching the playoffs with regularity throughout their history. The club won Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975 with lineups starring left wing Bill Barber, center Bobby Clarke, and goaltender Bernie Parent.
The Flyers joined the NHL as one of six expansion teams established in 1967. Directed by head coach Keith Allen and led by right wing Leon Rochefort, the team won their division in their first season. From 1972 to 1989, Philadelphia won nine division titles and reached the postseason every year. The club’s premier player during this era was Bobby Clarke. In the 1972-73 season he won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player (MVP) after becoming the Flyers’ first player to collect more than 100 points in one season.
In 1974 the Flyers became the first of the NHL’s 1967 expansion teams to be crowned NHL champion when they defeated the Boston Bruins 4 games to 2 in the Stanley Cup Finals. For his play in the regular season, Bernie Parent won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie, and in the postseason he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs. Flyers head coach Fred Shero received the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach.
The Flyers won the Stanley Cup again in 1975, defeating the Buffalo Sabres 4 games to 2. Clarke led the team and won his second Hart Trophy, and Parent once again won the Vezina Trophy and the Conn Smythe Trophy. In the 1975-76 season the Flyers tied a league record by going undefeated in 23 straight games. They also appeared in their third consecutive Stanley Cup Finals, but they were defeated by the Montréal Canadiens 4 games to 0. Clarke, Bill Barber, and right wing Reggie Leach set an NHL record as an offensive line by scoring a combined 141 goals during regular-season play, and Clarke earned his third Hart Trophy. Although the Flyers did not win the Stanley Cup, Leach was awarded the Conn Smythe Award as the playoff MVP after scoring 19 goals during the postseason.
Under head coach Pat Quinn the Flyers won their division title in the 1979-80 season. The club established an NHL record by playing 35 consecutive games without a loss during that season, as goalie Pete Peeters and defenseman Jimmy Watson anchored a superb defense. The Flyers returned to the Stanley Cup Finals, but they lost to the New York Islanders 4 games to 2.
Philadelphia returned to the Stanley Cup Finals again in both 1985 and 1987, but they lost each year to the Edmonton Oilers. Center-right wing Tim Kerr led the team in scoring from 1983 to 1987, and Mark Howe anchored the defense. Following the 1984-85 season, Flyers head coach Mike Keenan won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL coach of the year, and Pelle Lindbergh won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s outstanding goalie. Following the 1986-87 season, new Flyers goalie Ron Hextall won the Vezina Trophy.
After postseason appearances in 1988 and 1989, the Flyers suffered a five-year playoff drought. In 1992, however, the team obtained 19-year-old center Eric Lindros from the Québec Nordiques in exchange for six resource, two first-round draft choices, and $15 million. Lindros scored 41 goals in his first season, and after the 1994-95 season he won the Hart Trophy, having led the Flyers to their first division crown in eight seasons. In the 1996-97 season the Flyers acquired defenseman Paul Coffey. They closed the regular season in second place in their division and subsequently advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Detroit Red Wings 4 games to 0.
Official Philadelphia Flyers Web Site