The Spectrum. The little brown building at the corner of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue in South Philadelphia. The home of the legendary Broad Street Bullies. The structure that infected NHLers with the Philly Flu. The place where a blue collar town came to love the ultimate blue collar sport.
In this, the final year of this glorious old barn, I am going to submit a series of blogs, looking back at key games, and moments, from the building's history.
From Mother Nature removing part of the roof during her inaugural season to the hearty cheers of fans that nearly did the same in 1974 when the Flyers beat the heavily favored Boston Bruins to clinch their first Stanley Cup. From the Cold War visit of the Soviet Red Army team to game 6 of the 1987 finals, when journeyman JJ Daigneault fired a one timer past Grant Fuhr to force a game seven against the mighty Edmonton Oilers there were as many memories created in the Spectrum as anywhere else in the world of hockey.
Some were wonderful and bring a tear of joy to our eyes. Some were tragic, and bring tears of another stripe to our eyes. The Spectrum saw Dorny's goal against the North Stars, Bernie Parent's last game in the NHL, Dave Poulin's 3 on 5 shorthanded goal against the Nordiques in the 1985 playoffs, the Pelle Lindbergh memorial night, the rise of tremendous line combinations, like the LCB and Legion of Doom, the hoisting of Stanley and Calder Cups.
Not all of these moments were even hockey related. The Spectrum hosted some huge NCAA basketball games. One was the 1981 NCAA Championship game, played the day that President Ronald Reagan was shot. The other was the 1992 match-up between Duke and Kentucky(Thanks, Mr Burns) that ended with Christian Laettner grabbing Grant Hill's desperation heave and hitting a turnaround jumper to cap off a perfect game of shooting.
It saw the Sixers win a NBA championship. It saw Dr J defy gravity. It saw the arrival of Moses, who led the Sixers to the promised land a whole lot faster than his biblical namesake led the chosen people to theirs. It saw the debut of the Round Mound of rebound and one of the most opinionated sports commentators around in Sir Charles Barkley.
However, as a Flyers worshipper, I will focus on the events that took place on the Spectrum's ice.
THE ROOF, THE ROOF, THE ROOF IS.....GONE!!!
Ed Snider founded the Flyers and was the driving force behind bringing a team to Philadelphia
Ground was broken at what was then known as the East League Island Park area of South Philadelphia for the construction of the city's first modern sports arena. 16 months and $7 million later, the Flyers and 76ers moved into their new digs.
The first event was the Quaker City Jazz Festival on September 30th, 1967. Nineteen days later, the Flyers played their first game at home, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0. The Flyers enjoyed modest success in the NHL's new Western Division, but on March 1st, 1968-during a performance of the Ice Capades-high winds damaged a portion of the roof of the new building, which caused the Flyers to hit the road for a month.
The Flyers played "home" games at Madison Square Garden and Maple Leaf Gardens before ending up at Le Colisee in Quebec City, home of the AHL Quebec Aces. The Flyers finished 31-32-11, winning the Western Division title and managed to open their first Stanley Cup playoffs against the St Louis Blues at their real home arena. Unfortunately, the Blues were a team stocked with veterans who played a rough style of hockey and they eliminated the Flyers in seven games.
Andre Lacroix and Lou Angotti were two of the expansion Flyers best players.
Joe Watson and Doug Favell guard the Flyer net
Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent was the first player selected by the Flyers in the NHL expansion draft