I watched the Flyers 40th Anniversary DVD to see Ron Hextall's emotions, and have in me feelings rekindled that I had over the entire period that he was with the Flyers... That exuberance that he displayed epitomized what being a Flyer actually means... He, along with Bob Clarke, acted with the raw emotion that I would like to see in every Flyer, every game, every year.
There have been others that are Flyers type players over the years -- most recently Primeau, Recchi and Knuble -- but Hexy's penchant to never hide his feeling, ever, was a rare commodity in any sport... He was hated by many, but loved by so many more -- both Flyers fans and fans of other teams -- Hexy was respected for his style and heart even by those who loved to hate him.
I remember telling my Season Ticket Holder partner of that time, and to this day he reminds me of it; I admired Hextall so much that I would be willing to give up one year in my life -- preferably the last year -- if it would mean that he would win a Cup for the Flyers... I felt that that was all that would keep him from being installed in the 'Hockey Hall of Fame'.
Hexy did not win that Cup, he came closest in 1987, and won the Conn Symth Trophy in a losing cause, for his great playoff run that fell one game short. He returned to the Finals ten years later sharing the net with Garth Snow... but the team showed it's inexperience as they were swept in the finals after scrapping their way there.
This weekend I heard on WPEN Sports Radio a discussion about who in Philly should have their number retired. They moderator said that it would not look at all out of place to see Hextall's #27 in the Wachovia Center's rafters... It was mentioned about the unofficial Flyers policy to not retire a number that was not a member of the HHOF and on a Flyers Cup team -- all four retired numbers were on a Cup winner and three were in the Hall; the exception was Barry Ashbee who died way too young, under tragic circumstances.
My big gripe is not so much not retiring his number, I understand that... I fail to understand Hextall's name not being in the rafters in the Flyers Hall of Fame... Every year I say, "this is the year" and every year I'm again disappointed -- It was the same scenario with Mark Howe, until he was elected -- It is past the time for Hexy to be installed in the FHOF.... WAAAAAY PAST.