190: Philadelphia Hockey Beyond the Flyers - With Alan Bass
If doctors told us that we've made a breakthrough on covid nineteen. we would rejoice. We'd feel hope that we could live our lives again. Get back to work back to doing what we want. While masks are ticket that freedom we can help protect others and save lives by covering our noses and mouths which is how the virus mainly spreads. Until there's a vaccine grabbed the breakthrough. That's already here when we're out it's masks on a message to help keep you safe frontier by the ad council the original six a term. Well known to hockey historians the montreal canadians. Toronto maple leafs boston. Bruins new york rangers detroit red wings and chicago blackhawks. All captured the attention of sports fans throughout north america. Well i was in the record business years ago. A friend of mine and i were having a drink to the new york city and he said look. I got an extra ticket to the garden tonight. the rangers are playing montreal. And i said what's that all about and he said well. It's the hockey league which to mass yoko. Everything else do that night. So we went to the old guard. And i fell in love with the game. Instantaneously is without question. Great a spectator sport. I had ever seen the buildings or foam. They'd been full for years. And years and the competition between the six teams who was absolutely at its highest writing that popularity. The time had come to enlarge the sixteen league. I heard that the national hockey was expanding from six to twelve teams. I thought that it would be great. To apply. for a franchise. Ed snider who was working with the philadelphia eagles at the time thought the city of brotherly love with fall for hockey just like he did. But other cities were applying and philadelphia's his in hockey was not good all the other applicants for the six franchises were from cities that had pretty successful minor league hockey operations for for a number of years toward off was the only one that hadn't they had seven or eight minor league teams that it failed or been one quickly aborted attempt in the thirties to have it. Nhl team so there was no history of philadelphia really being an effort at all. However ed snider along with bill putnam and others persisted and on february ninth nineteen sixty six. Their hard work was rewarded. This is the year of the great expansion for the first time. The league will be composed of tall teams. Clarence campbell presider ads. The teams entered the league the philadelphia flyers minnesota north stars. La kings pittsburgh penguins saint louis blues and the california seals. Welcome to good seats still available. A curious little podcast devoted to exploring what used to be in professional sports years. Your host. Tim hanlin greeting sports. Fans how are you. Tim inland here reporting for duty each and every week as we do here on good seats still available. Yes the curious little podcast that is devoted to what used to be in professional sports. Thanks for coming by hope. You're having a good week. I can imagine the challenges that you're going through. We're all going through them on various levels But i'm glad you're taking a few moments to Self care shall we say and Enjoy a little bit of respite from all of those Ills of what's going on in the world around us to revel in some fun memories about some aspect of sports that for whatever reasons we've just forgotten or has been swept away by history. This week is no exception and we skate into the wonderful sport of ice hockey. Once again and our guests this week allen bass takes us specifically in the realm of that sport to the great city of brotherly love. Yes philadelphia and we're gonna talk about the hockey history of that city of course perhaps accentuated by that clip that you just heard from a an we. Two thousand seven anniversary documentary sash film commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the philadelphia flyers. Yes as you know by now longtime listener to this podcast will know of course That the flyers were part of six. Count him Franchises join the national hockey league in nineteen sixty seven. The great expansion those Longest time listeners will know that our very first episode on this little show almost four years ago now with our old pal mark gretch mill was devoted to one of those six teams. The california golden seals and i've had a few other conversations. Steve courier as well with his great book about the seals but indeed until that time the quote unquote original six Not really actually the original six in there some episodes devote to that too by all means. Check those out Was essentially whatever was called a known at the time. The the hey agra fee if you will of what was the sixteenth of the nhl at that time doubled literally doubled in size dramatic expansionary thing and perhaps one of the most successful longest lasting franchises and brands. I want to say most immediately impactful but certainly made quite a statement to fairly early on for a bunch of different reasons. We'll get into the conversation with alan. Were the philadelphia flyers. Ed snider is the guy you hear quoted in that clip. And he was largely the man responsible was his idea. He got the The impetus The the The notion if you will do it by going to see a bruins game One day he was at the time working for the philadelphia eagles. The nfl and she could tell he had some entertainment experience and whatnot and he was bitten by the National hockey league bug. I guess at the old garden watching the rangers and the bruins and an essence made it his his thing to bring the nhl the top tier to philadelphia but also as you mentioned that clip the history of hockey and philadelphia. I probably not so negative. Is that as that little announcer. A verbiage they're kind of Maybe suggested and alan bassus here He the author of professional hockey in philadelphia. A history published by our friends at mcfarland to kind of fill in the blanks of the history that preceded the philadelphia flyers arrival in nineteen sixty seven as well as their brand new built from scratch. Arena called the spectrum. No longer with us as well either but certainly part of the stories. We'll hear from allen in a few moments but as as he and i will discuss The history of of hockey in philadelphia is quite rich. Yes a lot of it. Minor league stuff but They were A teams like the ramblers of the late fifties and the early sixties There were the rockets and the falcons which rumble around the ahl in the Then eastern amateur hockey league there were of course. Well maybe not of course i. It's probably lost a bunch of folks. There actually wasn't nhl team in philadelphia before the flyers. Yes they were the one year. Wonder i don't know if they were really a wonder known as the quakers from nineteen while the nineteen thirty thirty one season of the. Nhl's quakers relocated from phil from pittsburgh. Actually we'll talk about that story but suffice to say they were perhaps one of the worst. Nhl franchises of all time. Let's just leave it at that. Get an all the color and the commentary about that in a moment. But it's lost on a lot of hockey fans philadelphia to that actually might not know that the nhl one of its earliest franchises was actually in philadelphia albeit for only one year. The quakers the lamentable although cool looking jersey quakers philadelphia. We get into all of that stuff. It's the history of professional hockey. Mostly minor league. But also the pros most anti of course the pros in philadelphia with our pal allen bass and yes we do talk about the philadelphia blazers of the. What we will not ignore them All that coming up in just a few moments before we do. So let's get your holiday shopping done and dusted for as early as we can. Show this year You know that shipping can take a little bit longer than normal this year. Lots of things are just not going to be normal this year but the sports fans in your life are going to be expected at least some level of gift and we are here to help you with promo codes galore to make you look like the hero that you ought to be With the sports fans in your life and here we go here. Are the sites that you need to go to our great sponsors. We'll have you covered And let's let's visit them all now quickly. 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That's the place to go and philadelphia stuff for sure tons of stuff there but all kinds of teams and leagues and sports and all that kind of stuff and in the realm of history and collectibles sports collectibles dot com promo code good seats fifteen percent off and thank you to each and every one of those great sites and i hope you find some great to holiday gift items for those on your sports fan List and we thank all of our sponsors and you for checking them out and hopefully buying a couple of items and you know. Fill in our stockings with a couple of nickels and dimes. Keep our little show going all right. Let's keep going with our conversation this week with a wonderfully well researched discussion about philadelphia's professional hockey history is allen bass and me Here's our conversation. We had just two weeks back. Thanks for listening and please enjoy. Why don't you give our mightily growing audience. A sense of how you why pro hockey and why of philadelphia and why the the The the interest in digging deep into into that story like what's your personal story a relationship to to both of those things. So i was born in philadelphia. Grew up just across the river in new jersey hence the devotion to philadelphia of course and as far as hockey like like many kids I was introduced to the sport from my dad. When i was a little kid and He took me to a flyers game and fell love with the sport instantly. as i got older i got into writing a little bit as a side. Hobby and of course merged the two loves together That's how i started writing for outlets like the hockey news magazine and whatnot And then i just developed a very deep interest in the history of the game Most of the time at the nhl level. but then as i started to do little more research As i wrote my first book which was on a nhl expansion in nineteen sixty seven. I got a little bit into the history of hockey in philadelphia. Which when way further back than i had realized at the time and as i chatted with friends and colleagues are a lot of them even some even. Some in the media weren't even aware of how far back that went. And i thought well if people in the media are aware of it and they cover the flyers for a living. This is something that philadelphia hockey fans are gonna wanna know about For sure i did and so. That's kind of what started the process of research for this book of. What would eventually became this book while i mean. Obviously that's that's important right in this sort of compensation right because the flyers were part of this great expansion sixty seven and i suspect. You're you're around. When were you introduced to two flyers hockey like roughly circa. I was introduced. The first game. I was brought to was the first season at the then called core state center which was nineteen ninety six. I was a little kid and it was a brand new building and That's that's was my introduction to the modern version of the team. And then of course as i became more of a fan as i got older i started learning more about the history of the flyers past all the all his stories from the from the sixties and the seventies and everything from there. And you know just kind of delve deeper and deeper as time progressed. And i'm guessing that you sort of went back you. You came to a hard stop in nineteen sixty seven with this great this great expansion. That as we've gone into an alum number different conversations especially around the california slash oakland slash golden seals. Right which report sixteen Extravagance right which was. I guess as you probably discovered right Especially in relation to other pro sports almost behind the times and or overdue right given the more rapid expansions and or challenger leagues. We're popping up around other sports right this. This was a league at least until the time that was for many many years sort of still stuck in their quote unquote. Now the store original six mode right until the tail end of the sixties which to me looking back seems just like a big time head scratchers to why it took so long to recognize. That hockey could be much more than just a eastern eastern slash mid kind of thing and only six teams at that absolutely in fact one of the running jokes and the time period was that they were called the regional hockey league because they refused to expand pass their sixteen teams Despite the fact that there was great interest from all around the united states there was interest from other cities in canada and the owners of the nhl at that point were just very content with there being big fish in a small pond and their revenues refine odd pretty much controlled the players as everyone. Who's done research on. You know the players association history would know so you know they had a really nice the boys club and it really just a matter of. They had maxed out the revenues at some point. The league was selling to between ninety five. One hundred percent capacity depending on the metric. You believe and they needed a new form of revenue and so they started reaching out to a television network executives and they were pretty much laughed out of the room. You know the these executives were saying well. You guys have nobody in the bay area in california. You have nobody in los angeles. You've got nobody in the middle of the country safer detroit Know what why would we be interested in that one executive even suggested to them at the western hockey league had a better chance of getting a tv deal than they did and it kind of stunned. The nhl owners and really put them in their place and made them think much deeper about you. Know how do we expand this league. I how do we make it a true national league. And that's where the first conversations the for her serious conversations of expansion really started. I mean it wasn't until probably nineteen sixty four nineteen sixty five the league at least considered doing it and then of course everything moved pretty quickly after that you were not using his provincial. Right with p. right. I mean in terms of the the all boys club and and and and sort of And look at in terms of the names right even even after the expansion stuff. They weren't sort of geographical Directional definitions. Right there were these smites and the the norris's right and all these sort of right very sort of old time crusty you know cigar chomping kind of you know but but i look and sixty seven right. Obviously you were not part of the The picture on this This great little planet of ours at that time. But but i suspect as you went back and sort of delved into sort of that expansion in the reasons the rationales for it right a lot of it being geographical and television and other revenue streams. And that kind of stuff. I begin a sense of how you discovered or open up. shall we say the pandora's box of The the history of of hockey and philadelphia professional semi pro. Whatever before that. Because i think a lot of people in today's generation today's hockey fan. Kind of think that philadelphia. Kinda just you know. It was sort a A white hot comet that landed a with a a a major imprint into the into the earth's surface. They are in metro philly in sixty seven which obviously is not the case right and and and let me start on that with you. Made a comment about the placement of the six new teams nine sixty seven and one of the interesting things as i did. The research for my first book was the reasons behind why each of those teams got placed and for most of them had nothing to do with married or ownership group. It was very political as one might expect. A los angeles was pretty much guaranteed a team because they had to team in los angeles to satisfy the network executives. They had to put a team in the bay area. That's where oakland came from. Saint louis only got a team because one of the big shots in the nhl in our own the narcissism the words is owned the saint louis arena and they wanted to. they wanted to get rid of it But they didn't have a buyer so they placed team in saint louis contingent on whatever owner eventually applied for that team within purchase the arena from them so essentially. They traded their votes for a for expansion in exchange for guaranteeing that a team would be put. Saint louis they'd granted a team to saint louis before there was even a potential owner incite. Which is a pretty big risk. On their part in the first place worked out for them of course and philadelphia for example they were not supposed to be the last team chosen. Baltimore was really supposed to be the last team chosen along with pittsburgh to be in the eastern division or in the eastern segment of the expansion division They're only reason they ended up going with phillies. Because they were planning to build a brand new arena that was gonna hold more seats than baltimore's arena and there's even a quote in the original meetings. Where philadelphia was pitching their their potential Hockey franchise to the board of governors One of the guys slammed his hand on the table instead. Philadelphia's allows the hockey town. You know why would we want them in our league and it was that quote that made me think that's interesting because i know there was some history of hockey but if it was so lousy why would even take that chance no matter how big the arena was. And that's kind of what set me on the path towards digging a little deeper into it. Because the ed snider is and jerry wolman. Bill putnam who started the flyers. They did almost no market research in terms of the successor failures of hockey teams before nineteen sixty seven. And that's a good thing. Because if they had they probably wouldn't have taken that risk so again. It worked out in the end for them for philadelphia. But that's kind of what triggered me to say. Well let's look a little deeper these teams. They couldn't have all been failures. That just doesn't make sense. You know philadelphia took to hockey pretty quickly and that doesn't come out of nowhere and so my desire was to really go back and figure out where the love of hockey came from it. It had to come from somewhere in the past and that was really my ultimate goal in writing this current book on the history of professional hockey in philadelphia to find the start of the game How where did the roots come from. How did it. I find it's way to philadelphia and then from there you know. They're obviously going to be teams. That did well in teams that failed. What were the differences between the two. What were the similarities between what caused the team to be successful versus. Not was it just wins. Was it something else. That's really where my interest came from. That's where it stemmed from an. That's how i really frame. The book tells a story about each team In each chapter and really delve into widely succeeded or why they failed ultimately in telling the story of why philadelphia's such a big hockey town now before we dial it back. I want to sort of stick on sixty seven for a second because i. I'm always curious about this building called the spectrum which chubb I'm wondering In your investigation of the flyers being partly the great expansion. How i think. I kind of know the answer to this but i want to hear it from you more directly. How much of this was the spectrum looking for stuff to fill versus the desire for a hockey team and oak conveniently. Here's a new arena. That we can actually finally get a hockey team to know the. The building was specifically built for the hockey team. Part of the proposal That the philadelphia hockey group made to the nhl board of governors was. We will build this brand new arena for this hockey team So it was so filling the arena with other events and you know the spectrum obviously became one of the one of the you know in terms of the number of events at held one of the biggest arenas in the country at that time. I mean it was way ahead of its time in terms of the number of concerts in the number varies events. I mean that building was full most nights out of the year but that was that was really a a side thing. The the hockey team was the main tenant and it was always going to be the main tenant spectrum. It just so happened that you know when you only use it for forty one nights a year you had a three hundred some other nights that you could fill it with in batch where that other part of the business came from So the spectrum came with the hockey team as as part of the package and then from there it evolved and developed into what eventually became so. I'm sorry so. I'm sorry to be ignorant on philly sports so pipe down all you philly fans so the seventy sixers were not necessarily part of the original mix around the arena. They were kind of a second component to this versus the flyers being the first right in the in building the arena or at least planning to build the arena. They understood the potential for they understood that the sixers probably could've used a new home and they might be. They might be willing to be a tenants in the building They understood what the potential was for the building. Obviously when you build an arena that holds seventeen thousand seats or whatever it was at the time You have to be able to fill it more than forty nights year. So they didn't have that in the back of backs of their mind. But the flyers were the premier tenant in that building. Everything else came just after it. Yeah that's that's interesting. Because and that's that's sort of makes sense because in essence it becomes. I mean the the fact that expansion was you know in the mixing bowl right That that obviously becomes the impetus right where you can start something brand new from from whole cloth so to speak versus just being a new venue for currently existing team which is the case the sixers. But yeah you know when you're doing market development of course and you're looking at You know a potential for dates and revenue streams. And all that kind of stuff. Of course you you know you have a ready made Additional franchise in there but to dome asylum with the advent of the flyers are frankly sweeten it and it sounds like that philly kind of just got in to that mixture snyder. Being kind of the the the main stir that drink right by the by the end of it for sure at the beginning insider was always the one in charge of what was then called philadelphia. Hockey club inc. He was partnered with jerry. Wolman who owned the eagles at the time. was a very famous contractor in the region. I was building a major project. eventually became the hancock center in chicago. Woman was well known he had the he had the fame to help. Push the project forward. Ed snider was in charge of the project. From the very beginning he had worked with jerry at the eagles. Ed snider was instrumental in getting veteran. Stadium built in philadelphia so he had done this before he had the experience to really get this kind of stuff off the ground by the end by the time that the nhl had granted the team to philadelphia by the time that philadelphia had to pay for the franchise. jerry woman had had left the the group he had a lot of financial problems stemming from the handcock project in chicago so ed snider really took over that bid. Along with the bill putnam. Who's the president of the team for many years And ed was the one that really put together the financing and mortgage his entire life to make that payment. in fact. There's there's an interesting story or story where You know there were the philadelphia. Group was running around the day of to get their cash together and to get their check together for the nhl and the nhl kind of had an inkling that there was a chance philadelphia. Wasn't going to be able to pay for it. And so they had named as the first alternate a long story. Short i would. I would direct of course to the book to read the story in full but when they finally got the check and they ran into into the hotel to give the check to the nhl. The baltimore group was standing just outside the door where the grin on their face holding their check fully expecting that they'd have a team by the end of the day and then the philadelphia guys handed their check in left. End the flyers officially report. So it's it's it's really came right down to the wire. I mean there was so much drama in that ownership group in terms of paying the team getting the spectrum built. Obviously you had the roof flowing in that first year there was so much drama in those first few months in the first couple of years. And it's a fascinating story back on now that we know how the story ends It really is fascinating in quite hilarious points. Why do you think. Snyder was like so smitten. With hockey in the first place for the arena versus other things or other as he was part of. I i if i have this right. He was part of the eagles organization. Right of time right right. He was the vice president of the eagles. He was essentially running the day to day of the eagles while woman was doing his construction projects. Ed was just a a text book entrepreneur. He had just extraordinary ambition. He was he was just like jerry. Wolman the two had such great ambition to had such great visions for what they could do together and they were completely willing to take crazy financial risks young and dumb kind of thing. It they were. They were in their thirties at the time so You know you mess up. You got plenty years to make it back up so ed just liked looking for opportunities and then just going for it. Just coincidentally in his work with the eagles in his work running the company in years before that which is a whole nother story. He had been introduced to hockey by some colleagues. Who had said you know. Let's go to a hockey game tonight. And said i don't know what that means. Let's go to a hockey game. And then he wound up falling in love with the game like many fans do when they go inside an arena for the first time to see that game And so from there it was always kind of in the back of his mind You know a colleague visits said to him you know. I'm moving to la to work with jack. Kente cook who's going to get an nhl franchise and was like what do you mean nhl franchisor. Are there any available. And he said yes. The six available in ed is a light bulb went off and he ran jerry woman and said look. This is a great idea. Why don't we do this. jerry said. That's fantastic go ahead. Let's do it ran into the city met with the. May you know he he just. He went gung ho for everything that he believed would work. And you see it. Even later in his life outside of the flyers anything he put his mind to. He went all out but at the time he had nothing to his name. He had to make it work. He had no choice. He mortgages entire life to get that team on the ice for the first time. And you see it in the personality. One of the reasons that the flyers saw such quick success. You know he. He wouldn't allow it to happen any other way. How much do you think he and his group were aware. Guess or tapped into or maybe. Maybe there wasn't any right. I i guess. I'm trying to get into the the dna of hockey in the philadelphia area. Now we're going to go back a little bit in a minute. But this from what i understand. This is not the first conversation around the nhl looking at philadelphia's a market. But i guess. I'm trying to get at and obviously you know the book you know goes into the history of hockey and philadelphia. But i i guess. I'm trying to figure out like what was driving. That was it this this sort of massive untapped you know hockey culture and In in the dynamic looking for a finally in nhl to express itself or was it more the arena and the convenience and maybe timing frankly of of this nhl as a as a as an enterprise right more than anything else than than an expression of of hockey finally the top tier pro level. It's an interesting question so like you mentioned. There were multiple attempts before nineteen sixty seven to get an nhl team in philadelphia one. That's exceeded kind of with the quakers. Which i'm sure we'll talk about soon back in the nineteen thirties but there were other attempts as well. You know a guy named len pedo tried to move the montreal maroons to philadelphia in the nineteen forties. And you know he was promising to build a multi-million dollar arena and he had he had even gotten approval from the league and there were a lot of attempts like that throughout the decades Leading leading up to the flyers. All of them pretty much failed for various reasons But but but what. You asked an interesting question. It's it's almost impossible to really pinpoint why exactly it was the flyers attempt that one verses You know why was that team successful while all the other teams never even got the chance to be frankly Ed snider had this idea that You know he. He looked at himself as an average guy which to be fair he was at the time he was just some guy working for football team He had he had almost nothing to his name and he looked at himself as just a regular average guy You know he was in his adopted city of philadelphia. Having moved from dc and he loved philadelphia. He he really identified with the people of south philadelphia thought that he was very much like them and he was and he had this belief that well. I'm a regular guy. And i like hockey. Why wouldn't all the other regular guys living in this region. There's no reason why they wouldn't like it too and it's really it's almost an overly simplistic viewpoint. But really if you think deeper about it it's kind of sheer brilliance ingenious to just don't not worry about you know what we would today which is market research and and look at the numbers and looked at and just and just look at the people in the region. Say i know these people. I've spoken with them. I've met them. I've hung out with them. There's no reason why they wouldn't like this. I know it you know. It's it's a risk a but that's what he did. He fervently believed that he knew what philadelphia was gonna like and it turned out. He was pretty pretty right about that art. Let's let's talk about before we go back to the. Let's say the maybe the beginning of this right because i think the The quakers really kind of our. You know i'm sure. There's some private primordial easy from before that but probably replaced as sort of finally domicile but yet to the extent you can. Can you go a little bit deeper into this Flirtation with the. Maroons and them possibly coming to philadelphia. 'cause that story in itself and i know that's not sort of your direct focused but the maroons were an interesting thing because they were the clearly the number two franchise in montreal and and they have basically been sort of dormant for some time march because of the depression and the war. And all that kind of stuff. It's just interesting to me that that would have been Perhaps something in the late forties early fifties that could have been the nhl in philadelphia and ironically the the first true expansion from the unquote original. Six you know before the sixty seven. Thanks so i just really curious. As to sort of the wrestling's of that to the extent you've got any sort of knowledge or understanding of it right so Basically like you said the. Maroons went dormant in nineteen thirty. Eight right around the time of the war and like you said coming out the great depression and in the forties Len pedo who was he was on. The board of directors of the canadian arena company And had actually worked for the maroons. For some time He purchased the team promising to construct a two and a half million dollar arena where the baker wasn't philadelphia and then move move the maroons to philadelphia To become the nhl seventeen Essentially you know there was a lot of politics. Involved is not really a is not really a definitive answer of exactly what happened. A lot of this was very secretive at the time in in inasmuch not even appearing in nhl board of governors minutes So truly on the insiders club then how so essentially it. It sounds like there was a lot of pushback from the philadelphia. Robots who was an american league team at the time they played out of the philadelphia arena. Which is a whole nother story on. Its own but basically The guy who ran the philadelphia arena. Pete tyrel he pretty much ran hockey and philadelphia. He you know the philadelphia arena was the only place that remotely housing. Nhl team and it was a pretty bank building in the first place and so any team that wanted to play in philadelphia. Pretty much had to go through him on. He pushed back very very hard with the league. He pushed back very hard against pedo. He he you know he tyrel had connections with the city and he made it very difficult for pedo to make his pitch to the city of philadelphia to get that dream. Arena bill and pretty much. The process dragged on for many years. And at some point. It just kind of fizzled out. you know in the nhl pretty much reversed. The sale of the maroons in pilaff drought. Which i guess was the only other sort of viable building Of size and scale didn't have ice making capabilities. And i guess the fact. I guess there was a there wasn't sort of really for whatever reason any appetite to maybe install such either right it and it would probably hit the same snags because of tyrel not wanting competition in the city with his hockey team. And that's a consistent theme that occurred in the decades before the flyers of the owners of the philadelphia arena trying to prevent from coming in interesting. So that's why pedo went. Sort of the i build a new arena kind of Route but i guess ultimately the funding couldn't be cobbled together to make that happen and war. I guess he ran out of time because it was a deadline. Attached to this franchise going somewhere right pretty much. The league kept you know giving him leeway giving them leeway but at some point there were like you know you gotta get this done by x. Date and then he couldn't get it done and they terminated the agreement and basically made the canadian arena company. Return pitas payment. Well so that's interesting. So i said this is not. This is not a conversation devoted to the maroons. But i guess that will be something that i wanted to sort of dig into somehow because in essence with the failure of that arena and the ability to get the funding for it That just basically ended the potential re Resurrection i guess of the maroons franchise is all new and interesting to me but you know clearly. I'm digressing as i often do in this on this show and i you know i apologize for that but so let's let's back up. Then let's talk about this This team call the quakers right because As we delve into a number of other occasions the misnomer of this thing called the original six right. The quakers predate this. I don't know what would you call. Wallpapered history of the nhl that way to put it. Yeah prior to this. What i think people of certain age of legendarily think is was truly the original six but clearly not the case because there was this thing called the quakers. How and what were they all about. Because they were part of the nhl prior to i guess the calling into to what became the six that lasted for so all right well for the listeners. That wouldn't necessarily know. the original. Six era was from nineteen forty two through nineteen sixty seven so it wasn't an enormous swatch of the league's history. But of course is the most well known when you talk about old history. Nhl but like you said before. Nineteen forty two know. The league existed for decades before that The quakers were actually a relocated franchise started as the pittsburgh pirates and when the pirates owner died Their sons took over and pretty much. Were not really aware of how to run a team and they were really struggling. Team was struggling on the ice. They were They were having financial struggles. They they were playing some home games on the road to try to draw more fans. It was pretty ugly and essentially they just wanted to get out of it and so they sold the team and this is where there is debate publicly. They sold the team to benny leonard. The famous fighter But in reality. It appears that Big bill dwyer Mob boss new york was actually the owner of the team There's some discussion as to. Was he involved at all. Why did he not announced himself as the owner It appears that the nhl had made a didn't so much have a rule but they had a preference for owners not owning multiple teams and he had already owned team new york and so he wanted to control this pittsburgh franchise without causing a problem with the nhl. So he took benny leonard and put him in charge of running the pittsburgh pirates You know they had a lot of problems still even with leonard in charge and so they relocated to philadelphia and it was a planned temporary relocation. They were their hope was to move back to pittsburgh they were trying to fix up. Duquesne arena played in or build a new arena You know after the stock market crash in nineteen twenty nine to steel industry was not doing well in pittsburgh so there were a lot of issues that contributed to the pirates. Not doing well. Enter the quakers Say they're gonna show up in philly and play for you know couple years. Maybe in you know we'll figure out what to do within the long term and right from the get go it was just i mean it was. It was pretty pretty bad. I mean They they lost game after game. They struggle to to to any fans into the game. Really i mean some of these. Some of the attendance numbers for the games were horrific There was a there was a canadian american hockey league team at the same time. The arrows who were drawing more than nhl franchise the quakers So you know without without going on non about it. It an interesting piece of philadelphia hockey history because of how how badly the team failed on the ice and in the box office and it kinda shows it almost showed a blueprint for what not to do in the future Which is interesting because you see other teams after them succeed and fail. Based on how they followed or didn't follow the quakers business model. Ultimately the quakers only were in philadelphia for one year and then the team was pretty much. Shut down and They still hold the record in the nhl. Four fewest wins in a season. Which is just the record yuan in philadelphia. Yeah well and and i think winning percentage it so among the all time lowest although i think the the capitals in the right it's it's second lowest to the capitals correct. You know. i think. I'm looking at the data. Here they won thirty six. Winning percentage for the further quakers in the capitals. Where at one. Thirty one. In seventy four seventy five but still and four wins out of. What are they play. Forty four right. But i guess the question sort of becomes it was why philadelphia say versus anywhere else from pittsburgh And i guess also was it. Was it more a dynamic around the specifics of this team and leonard and and and the the the dynamics of that or was this really more of a depression era story because we're talking about literally the immediate aftermath of a cataclysmic economic than the united states right. So there's not a definitive answer to that question but it's definitely it's definitely interesting to discuss Before they agreed to move the team to philadelphia they had looked at other options including atlantic city. and they. there's not really antic city really interesting. Yeah they they looked into it and it just wouldn't work out for them. Apparently not that it worked out much better in philly but they there's not a real answer to why they chose philly. It's possible it had to do with the distance between philly in pittsburgh obviously philadelphia one of the most populous cities in the country. Even at that time You know there's a lot of things going for it and even amidst the depression. The minor league team in philadelphia was still doing fairly. Well all things. Considering i mean. They weren't weren't blowing the doors off. Vinnie thing in terms of Gate receipts but they were doing fairly well. Considering that there was a major financial crisis going on at the time So there was reason for optimism. They they the philadelphia arena was still fairly new at the time so it wasn't quite decrepit yet but it wasn't a great building it was it was fine. It was adequate So there was. There were reasons for optimism But you know the team was terrible on the ice. They showed no fight The marketing for the team was not rate And it's possible that philadelphia took offense to the idea that they would just be a pit. Stop for this team. You know they had a team. The arrows that had been there since nineteen twenty seven and would continue to remain in that city for for many years and they supported the arrows Who eventually became the ramblers. They supported both of those teams very well and then here comes. Nhl team saying here. We're going to stop here for a year. Come support us. And then we're going to leave philadelphia. Isn't that kind a city that the it's definitely something that handicapped them right from the beginning. Do you sense that they could have had a shot. If they could have stayed around a little longer or do you think that the arena was just a you know. Part of the problem was never gonna sort of cut it longer term. It was benny leonard in his sort of star. Power baby fading away since at least a decade removed from his his boxing A you know a wins and all that kind of staff. I was just that the money was the lack of discretionary income. I mean i'd atlantic city sounds interesting but even that would have been probably even more dependent on the idea of discretionary income because people have to travel to get there before they spent their money right which to me in a nineteen thirty kind of environment looking back just doesn't seem to be logical given you know the economic times right and certainly i mean it's it's difficult to quantify that completely but you know the arrow succeeded a pretty well. During that time period and ticket prices were not that much lower than the quakers. It's not like The quakers were charging double and triple the prices. They were charging A little bit more because it was in. Nhl team as opposed to a minor league team But you know you had a team that did not have much fight at all. It's one thing not to win. It's another to just not be entertaining. and you know the the arena just wasn't made for nhl team you know nhl teams even at that time played in you know nice arenas for the time they weren't state of the art by any means it was still the nineteen twenty s in the nineteen thirties. But t nhl teams at that time played very large solid arenas and the philadelphia arena. Was not that at all. It was a minor the arena You know it was already falling apart. Only a few years after it was bill and just got worse as time progressed But you know it I think a big part of that is how they came into the city. I mean there's there's a great quote in chapter in book four from an author who had written aditorial right after it was announced that the team was moving to philadelphia And basically the way the author phrased it was the national league's head step in turn over the big league franchise to a group of new. York capitalists who piloted last place club into philadelphia. And tell us to like it which is a very philadelphia attitude there. They've got an opportunity to support. Nhl team and their response is almost like a way. Why why are you coming our city like that. You know the what. You're not really one of us are you. You know it's a it's a very philadelphia attitude and it probably contributed greatly to people being skeptical about the squad and then not really supporting it too. Well but but i said two crisis number one it does. It doesn't necessarily speak ill of hockey as as a as an endeavor right because you're mentioning the arrows. And and i guess the question sort of embedded in that is how much did being a quote unquote. Nhl team matter because it doesn't seem like it did in some respects was i mean the nhl. I wasn't or was it. Not you know sort of the highest level of hockey. I'm assuming you got teams in boston and chicago. New york playing in his bed montreal. It's right playing these big. Arenas right like you're mentioning of time. I it sounds pretty darn major league to me at that point. But does i guess your. I'm wondering if the the fan and was discerning enough. It sounds like perhaps they were that. Hey okay maybe it's the major league hockey here in philadelphia finally but it's clearly not passing the smell test when you see what how they're how poorly they're competing and and you know we might as well stick with a team that's the least competitive and has been around understands the marginal abedin the arrows. Despite my thing. I think you hit the nail right on the head. I mean you know. Th there was clearly a distinction between a national hockey league franchise and everything else. But that doesn't mean anything if the fans don't feel like there's a commitment to them into their city i mean fan fans aren't stupid they can tell when an ownership group is committed to them and not And the quakers were not committed to philadelphia. Right from the get-go interesting too. Because at the end of that season they the quakers as well as ottawa ottawa. Yeah i think Left the leak right so went down from ten to eight teams. And then you're talking about like detroit hanging around in montreal. The second maroons and the right american stuff right. But that's and that obviously continues to lead towards the further calling down to that or quote unquote original six Past all of that. So you know. I can't imagine how easy it must have been or hard. It must have been frankly to run. You know professional sports at the height of the depression right The fact that. I think that the nhl was able to sort of slimmed down and hold on for that period of time is is probably a testament to maybe the all boys club that hung on. And maybe maybe the partially the reason why it took so long ultimately decades later to finally get out of that sort of Sixteen kind of navel-gazing and get into sort of the world of expansion in bigger geographies. Yeah for sure. I mean again. You hit the nail right on the head there. And you're you're you're taking my answers right for me and that's great you've already expressed a wonderful understanding of of the nhl in philadelphia hockey at that time. Why is them. What do you think then having gone all the way back to that and and having why do you think it took so long between dan and nineteen sixty seven and this flirtation us in thirty nine forty or so to sort of get to that sort of top flight. Nhl experience again. Because it's clear. That philly was pretty robust in terms of being a hockey town. But for whatever reasons not sort of you know i just by the sheer fact of being a relative stone's throw from some of these major and long lasting. Nhl hockey franchises in the northeast. It would just seem to be natural that it would be almost somewhat inevitable that philadelphia would qualify both in terms of its market and whatnot to to be in. Nhl worthy franchise. I i just find it so hard to believe it took all awaits all the great expansion for it to finally happen right. And and there's gotta there's going to be a multitude of reasons surrounding that one is like we talked earlier. How the philadelphia arena pretty much controlled hot in philadelphia. They they had some really nice poll with city up at the same time. You know we we also talked about the nhl not really being interested in expansion until the sixties. I mean they. There were multiple examples of the nhl expressing an interest in adding teams including when he does attempt in the nineteen forties nhl. Talk with cleveland in the forties There are a lot of examples of the nhl kind of feigning interest in expansion. But when you look really deeply into it it looks like those attempts. Were not really serious. It was almost like an attempt to save face and be like what we looked into it by. You know you'd say it's not. It's not for us right now. So i it's kind of both of those together philadelphia almost a pushing back against An nhl team and it was the nhl. Just not interested in expanding until the sixties Before we leave the quakers a few names to kind of stuck out right. It wasn't like i a farcical. You know on on ice performance but there were some some quality names attached to that franchise for that year that that went on to some great things in the league. Certainly sit how he played his first professional caesar first. Nhl season with the quakers. He went onto a hall of fame. Certainly not with the quaker but he had a phenomenal career You had wally kilrea. Who played a very long time in the nhl There were some really good players that quakers had the just didn't have the team as a whole they didn't have. They didn't have the right coach. they didn't have the right style. The have the support cast And to be fair said how was very young. He wasn't yet a superstar Like he eventually was With could played a net for them he would he would Bounce around through various philadelphia teams. But you know at the end of the day as as we know in any sport you need more than just a couple of years But yet we there was. Some there was some good players who got their start with the quakers and got their start in philadelphia and The only other hall of famer. I guess was this cooper. Smeaton guy yeah. Interestingly was coach but he was probably more known for being the head referee for the league in its very formative days until the until around this time when he took over as As coach being the referee in chief. I guess for twenty years in this league. I know it's pretty. Sounds like a kinda unique set of qualifications perhaps maybe not as evidenced by their performance on the nice to be a coach. Certainly like you said that you know they believe at the time that he was gonna bring discipline you know. He'd rule with an iron fist and keep everyone in line and it turned out that yeah he was great at that but it wasn't a very good coach. On at the end of the season he actually went right back to working for the nhl And that's that's inevitably how he ended up in the hall of fame with service to the league. Not having anything to do. It is time with the quakers or sorry so explain to me maybe just sort of in a in a sort of a a maybe in a summary fashion the the fits and starts of of some of the teams on the minor league level You know to kind of fills in the gaps between the nhl flirtation in in the late thirties. And then the ultimate domus filing of the flyers and sixty seven Maybe to give our audience a bit of a sense of you know just some of the verve in the names of the teams and the you know and the I don't know some of the perhaps some of the more memorable sort of things that sort of kept hockey going in philadelphia because it was pretty rich despite its minor league ness now right right absolutely and so we mentioned the arrows from the canadian american league they started in nineteen twenty seven. They played through nineteen thirty five and pretty much. The hours franchise every team that followed them in line of succession. I'm about to go through. There were different teams but they all kind of went off of one another so the arrows played until nineteen thirty five and the new york rangers decided they wanted with their farm team in philadelphia and so the arena. Shut down the arrows and then started the ramblers nineteen thirty five using pretty much the same foundation The ramblers played for six years and then the rangers shutdown that farm team because of the war so the arena wanted to create their own team again. And that's how you get to the rockets in a falcons and so like there's this long line of multiple teams that kind of were born from one another and the ramblers In the in the first year won the championship of what was then called the international american hockey league. Eventually becoming the american league They won the championship their first year and they were selling out games into the city loved them. I mean they. The fans really went for that team. and in fact they were the they would often They they would do when they found out that the rangers were making the playoffs and certain years because the rangers would take some of their best players as as most nhl teams with their farm teams so as the years progressed. The ramblers started doing more poorly because they were being did a great team. That was being guarded by the nhl squad. And so you know they'd announced the rangers scoring the arena and the fans would boo because the rangers were stealing their their teams players. So as you really saw philadelphia start to fall in love with some of their hockey teams. that's interesting because it also feels to me like it's a bit of a A more i don't know premodern. I'm gonna call it annexation of the philadelphia market Whatever you wanna call it by the rangers right. It's almost it's almost like. They had a sort of an extension if you will into that market. By means of their of their minor league franchise absolutely and and that was something that nhl teams Definitely did throughout that era they would have multiple farm teams in various leagues. All over the region You know philadelphia just to drive up the turnpike easy to call players up and down. You know kind of the same reason. The flyers eventually put the phantoms nearby. So you're right. It's very interesting to see how new york almost gave philadelphia Kind of a stamp of approval from what was a major nhl city at the time. I it's almost a stamp of approval. Saying you know we recognize that philadelphia has the potential to be this great hockey market. And that's interesting coming from a city that is now such a rival when it comes to sports Who else what else sort of of that. I mean i'm assuming that that kind of hockey. Was i don't know i a little bit more rough and tumble perhaps then maybe the If you call the nhl refined at the time. Yes certainly. I mean minor hockey and in fact if you even jumped to the the second edition of the ramblers which was the eastern hockey league in the nineteen fifties Eastern hockey league was the league that spawned slapshot movies so You see you know hockey. It always been rough and tumble. They're always fights. They're always brawls. But once you get to the eastern league you really start to see That stereo typical. You know i went to a. I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out kind of mantra and the ramblers okay to actually had the longest tenure of any team before them nine years The very very sad ending where they were. They went into bankruptcy and shutdown suddenly a but that team even today still has such a cult following the fans. They didn't sell out the building very much but the fans that showed up or die hard. They were so supported they would travel to To watch team on the road. I mean even today you go you go into forums you go into facebook groups and people love the h. l. people loved the ramblers. You still see people sharing ticket stubs. And saying i was at this ramblers game in nineteen sixty two in fact lou nolan. Who is the pa announcer for the flyers and has been since nineteen. I believe nineteen sixty seven. He got his start in hockey by going ramblers games as a kid. You know he he. Yeah i chatted with him at length just casually about his memories of the philadelphia arena and watching some of his favorite players in the eastern league at the time. So it was. It was one of those leagues that really helped spawn some really devoted fandom to hockey in and it really you know they folded just a couple of years before they announced the philadelphia was going to get in. Nhl team in nineteen sixty six now. That's interesting i wanted to get into that. Because why why that gap Was it because the the the the The mechanics of getting the flyers into the league was underway or or was it just a sort of a folly or a a chancery of time that the that for whatever reasons the ramblers couldn't hang on until then because a three year gap and then this new. Nhl thing i you know I gotta think if you're a hockey fan of philadelphia. Were kind of like you know what what's happening here. Absolutely and it's more just a matter of the timing in fact when the ramblers shutdown very suddenly pretty much they they had not made their escrow. Payment to the league in the league just announced that suspending the ramblers franchising. There was kind of an internal battle with the ownership group in just went into bankruptcy and folded. It was very sudden. no one really knows. The full story of what happened is kind of lost a history when they folded in nineteen sixty four. There was not even an inkling that the nhl was going to expand that didn't get announced until nineteen sixty five so it was just a matter of chance that you had that gap in that the flyers just coincidentally followed the end of the ramblers. Ed just kind of worked out. Wouldn't snyder than the even with the the idea of of of a building and and and all of that wouldn't that give you pause that you know maybe hockey isn't the right thing that maybe sort of pushing this market because of what happened to the rockets and excuse me the ramblers and while the rockets to and just you know and i don't know it would give me pause right that you know. Well there's not a fledgling minor league here. Why would i wanna take a chance after you know with a gap or two or did he see around a corner. Somehow that may be given the nhl treatment hockey could indeed succeed. Perhaps with the new building center. I'm not even sure he looked that deeply into it. I to my knowledge. I don't believe he ever attended ramblers game. I don't believe he ever attended any hockey game in philadelphia. I believe he had an understanding that there was a hockey team but past that. I'm not certain he knew anything anything more. Yeah though that might have been a good thing. Because you think that you'd want to somehow market or market see how successful or passionate a hockey fan base might be in the market before you you know really go out on a limb and build a building and get a new. Nhl expansion franchise and when he when he was older actually looking back on on his on his career. He made a comment that you know if we had done market research back then that we do now we would never have started the flyers because we would have seen some of the history in and said. Oh this isn't worth the risk and so it's fortunate that he didn't really look into it. Because you never philadelphia probably would have gotten a team eventually a but it's surely wouldn't have been the flyers wouldn't have been him. Oh the classic case of not knowing what you don't know right. I guess and and exactly and sometimes it works out. Well yeah i think. Sometimes their another a lot of performers for example sort of take that sort of like. I didn't know any better. I just was doing it and doing my best at it. And i shouldn't be doing but that's why i did it and wind up becoming success all right. Let's round the corner here. So i cannot let this conversation. Go without Talking about world hockey association and the blazers And frankly as i emailed to you as well the I guess the the dalliance across the across the river there to the jersey knights As well being sort of the philadelphia area i. I wonder this way. I i wonder given the relatively. I would call a checkered. I guess it was fairly strong history. And what maybe the relative newness of the philadelphia flyers in the market. Why would the w. h. look at philadelphia being somewhat of a. I don't know somewhat still early and fragile. Nhl market as being quote unquote ripe for a world hockey association challenger especially given the fact that the flyers were in this relatively new and state of the art building that the blazers i'm guessing didn't even have a prayer of domicile themselves him so the w. h. a. Did not look at well. I shouldn't say did not look at philadelphia. They didn't choose philadelphia. the blazers started in miami They were they were awarded. Miami was awarded w. h. e. franchise then franchise right and then when they were unable to get their arena. Bill and there are financial issues. They sold the team to Jim cooper and bernie brown In in south jersey region and they relocated the team to philadelphia and made a deal with the city to play at the what was then. What was it called the convention hall sense civic center. They basically re outfitted the inside of the civic center with an ice rink and paid and paid a large amount of money to do so. So that the blazers could be there and an an answer to you to the other part of your question about why philadelphia was right for world hockey association team. I'm not so certain. It was per se in that would be that'd be provable. By seeing how terribly the blazers did in their one year in town But at the time it was nineteen seventy two And at the time the flyers were an up and coming but really underperforming team. They've made the playoffs a couple years. Never got past the first round and they had they had blown a division lead late one of the seasons and mr playoffs and the last day and so there was a segment of philadelphia. Who was really ready to love hockey. But we're getting frustrated with the flyers. They weren't yet winners. They were not winning stanley cups yet. They were on the verge but they weren't yet they're so the feeling towards the flyers was skeptical and hopeful and disappointed and so it did create some semblance of room for another team. But i'm not sure of the world. Hockey association was the right choice especially with how they eventually ended up spending money on on players but it but it does create an interesting Segment of the market When you're talking about Can philadelphia handled two major league teams. Just a few years after the flyers started sure enough. The answer was no but you wouldn't have been able to guess that at the start. Yeah well you want to talk about the start their first ever game. Certainly they went out to Do warm ups and You know something that ice seemed a little echoey and you could feel it Being hollow underneath and dive sand piling up a little bit of background of what the civic center was in relation to say something like the spectrum because senate will your it was a convention center. It was it was not a sports arena. They tried to outfit it to be a sports arena and so You know ice-making was not nearly as modern in nineteen seventy two as it is now and surely not in a building that's not meant to handle ice rink. So you know the sand piling up the corners and the ice downing hollow and You know derek sanderson. Who was the big pickup for the blazers off from out of the boston bruins organization. It goes up to the ref. Says i'm not sure this is safe to play on. The refugees is sweating bullets. And he's nervous says we can't cancel the game. It's opening night you know. We're gonna have to refund everybody all. We can't do that. we gotta play the game. You know this is a brand new league. Everyone's counting on us so this area they go to the locker room while they're in the locker room they hear are very loud crash and they run out and they see that the zamboni has fallen through the ice cut huge hole in the ice and pretty much. They had to cancel the game and give everyone their money back and sure enough the souvenir orange pucks the date given out to everyone when they walked in. The building ended up being thrown at the players on the ice in as as philadelphia fashion. Yeah well. I'm pri pri pri pri staging the the The love affair with santa claus at the old veterans stadium. But of course. But so. But i mean you could not have picked a more Is a debut right And i just set the tone. I guess How do you so i mean. Obviously we. we've talked about that. what with with. Dennis murphy of all people right the founder still with us at at ninety years. I think he is i. I'm just really curious as to how they figured out a way to try to keep themselves competitive in marketing against The flyers. I'll be at not necessarily lighting it up themselves but at least you know in a state of the art arena and and the The nhl being The legacy league. And all that kind of stuff i wonder how have they went about marketing themselves as a as an alternative of that and were the folly of that To even try a so. They they utilize their marketing scheme. Pretty much in direct competition with the flyers intentionally They they tried to ride the wave of scepticism towards the flyers. They took a lot of vailed shots at the flyers. A lot of of not veiled shots a lot of very straightforward shots. They they made comments about you. Know people often into wait. Wait outside in the rain in line at the spectrum to get tickets because the box office wasn't covered in so they made little shot. They took those shots at the fire. Saying well our building. You can wait inside. It's nice and warm kind of thing. i like. They did a lot of things like that. They they lobbed to challenge across the city to say let's have our teams play and see who's better and of course the flyers knew better than to engage in that because that's a that's a no win situation right there And so y-. The blazers really tried to position themselves as the alternative to the flyers But you know that's really hard to do when the flyers had bobby clark they had. Yeah they were really. They were starting to come into their own And the blazers had a Less than nice hockey arena to say the least and The you know they had some big on their squad but they weren't a great team at the beginning. It took them a couple months really to get into it. I mean derek. Sanderson was the big name But in the nhl. Derek sanderson wasn't a high powered first line scoring forward. He was he was a a very big personality in the w. e. j. He was certainly going to be one of the best defensive players but the w. h. was surely a step down from the nhl and so they had their work cut out for them They did have under the qual- who wound up leading the league in scoring in that one year i was a dynamic personality in dynamic score. But it's it's tough to position yourself in direct competition with an inch with an h squad and then not perform as well as that. Nhl squad they also had bernie parent right absolutely. Yeah completely completely. Forgot to mention him absolutely names that at least get them some level of if you will curiosity and credibility rights to at least be worth a look to you know for sure bernie would signed with miami and then when when they moved the philadelphia he agreed to play for philadelphia and he had some sort. He had some sore feelings towards the flyers because they traded him to toronto and he went when he was told that he was being traded to the maple leafs. I mean he cried. He was so distraught. Move because he loved philadelphia. You know an original expansion draft pick And he had some hard feelings towards philadelphia. There were some nasty things he said about the flyers at that time in the press which of course later you know water under the bridge especially after you win two stanley cup for the flyers But at the time you know he was really us really hurt from the flyers having moved him And he was happy to be in competition with the flyers and that really added to the drama and added to the positioning of the blazers Put themselves in. So how did it all end it. Obviously it didn't start well after being hastily relocated from miami where they never got a chance to play. But you know talk about. I if you're if you're if you're pulling out the map and trying to look at. Where are you going to relocate this franchise you you know you spend the dial and i. I don't know i'm not quite sure. I would imagine where they wound up at the end of the season. Maybe maybe some insight is to like how and why that happened right and the season was looking up at one point. They barely made the playoffs at the end of the season but they were playing really well. They had a terrible first few months and they're really they're dynamic end to the season really just got them into the playoffs and they were looking great and then bernie peron actually walked out on the team. And there's a dispute as to what exactly happened You know at the time bernie and his agent claimed that they were owed money that they weren't paid and of course the owners of the blazers said that's absolutely not true and i. It's still disputed to this day because bernie doesn't want to talk about it and understandably so it was a really painful time for him in his life but it really forced the team to put an unproven goalie in net. They wound up losing very quickly in the playoffs and it was really disappointing. End to what could have been a good season and then almost out of nowhere. The team was sold to vancouver and then it was gone just like that. It was it was. It was in the newspapers before the employees even knew they were getting calls. They were coming into working in calls from people saying as the team been sold and they had no idea they said no. We're still here and sure enough. The rumors proved out proved to be true And the teams gone. Just like that okay. So they didn't. They never really drew well right now. Not really okay. So then i and i know. Your book doesn't touch on this. But the metropolitan area encompasses south jersey. Right and right. I'm just really curious based on what you could sort of put together or assuming you've got some knowledge or some understanding or maybe even just an educated guess why then in all their wisdom would the w. h. a. Think that given the situation that was going on in new york which was the golden blades essentially having a falling out with the madison square garden. Folks and stuff. Why would they look at suburban philadelphia to relocate that team as the jersey knights given what had just happened across the river with their w. a franchise in philadelphia. Proper doesn't seem that that is a fantastic question not was not sort of the pinnacle of logical of of. That's that's certainly true. And that's a great question that i do not know the answer to that probably would have been a great question for dennis. Murphy yeah while we're we're hoping we get him again at some point soon. 'cause a lot of things we want to talk to about for sure including that but yeah just a couple of things number one. It speaks at least the fact that philadelphia feels like a strong hockey market or at least worth a shot right but at the time. It seems almost counterintuitive given the relative debacle that that was the blazers that here prior absolutely. I think you said perfectly right there all right. Well let's Let's just sort around all this up then described to me then what you feel. Sort of the The dynamic of hockey since then because obviously the flyers have done quite well for themselves. Thank you on a number of different levels. I e maybe not racking up a ton of stanley cup championships You know and You know but but so obviously a very dynamic and and standing part of the philadelphia sports culture values to the broadway bullies. And and all that stuff i mean they. They've really cemented their their legitimacy. If you will in the philadelphia sports from but it's interesting how it's not sort of Fended off minor league hockey competition over the years since right. It's almost like to me like you're in chicago right chicago. Wolves filling in gaps when the blackhawks were sort of in their in their waning periods of time Became a pretty strong and dynamic alternative especially to the suburban crowd for the hockey dollar in chicago. I it seems to me that philadelphia's another great example of hey the markets big enough to support an alternative minor league franchise despite having a very successful a relatively fires in the nhl. It's not it's not common. Is it no and certainly and when you talk about successful obviously you can talk about it from two different ways. If you're looking strictly at stanley cups yeah you can. You can argue all day about that. But from a financial perspective and from a market perspective the flyers have been one of the most successful teams in the nhl since nineteen sixty seven. I mean they've they've consistently sold out that building Almost year after year Up up through the last few years but in terms of minor hockey you had to a pretty serious minor hockey franchises in philadelphia after the flyers. Were already there. You're the firebirds run for about six years in the city in the seventies and then you had the phantoms run for about thirteen years in the city from from nineteen ninety-six to two thousand nine and both of them had different levels of success. The firebirds were pretty successful ultimately relocated to syracuse and the phantoms. Were perhaps the most successful american league franchise of their thirteen years. I mean they they really helped prop the ahl up at a time. They were battling for minor leagues premacy with the international league. So it's interesting to see like you said the that philadelphia support two different teams A major and a minor league team and one of the reasons is because the two don't really compete with one another at least in the modern hockey market back in the nineteen thirties. It was much different. But in in the seventy s you know a minor league team Was a ticket for minor. League team was much cheaper than nhl team and for sure in the nineties when the phantoms came about i think at the time flyers tickets were maybe like forty fifty dollars for lower levels seat and a fan of stick. It was five dollars. So you're not competing for the same consumer at that point so from a business perspective does make sense in a hockey mad market to to to put a minor league team to support the major league. Team it really helps generate the next generation of fans who at least in the seventies with the firebirds could not even get ticket to the flyers because they were winning stanley cups and sold out every night and in the ninety s may not have been able to afford flyers tickets necessarily and so it really creates an opportunity for families young kids to see a hockey game in a way. That doesn't break the bank. Eighty costs you know thirty forty dollars for family ford to see a game for the phantoms. Let's say in the nineties whereas it costs hundreds of dollars to see a flyers game family of four and so you see from a business perspective. How it makes sense especially market as big as philadelphia. Yeah sure that makes sense an and but it's also interesting dynamic though is a little different than say here in chicago right. So the the wolves right became more of a suburban lower cost fun filled minor league heavily. Promotional dynamic versus the in city big market if you will Blackhawk thing the the geography and the stadium situation in philadelphia. Quite different right. Absolutely you've got what's called the sports complex philadelphia and it's it's funny. Because when i was a kid. I never understood that. That was unusual. That a city put all of their sports stadiums in the same little area. I would go to utter cities and you know you go to new. York and madison square garden was in the middle of manhattan. And yankee stadium was over an east and i. I don't understand why you wouldn't put all the stadiums together. And i never understood that philadelphia was unique to that and so people outside philadelphia may not realize that you know at one point. There were five major stadiums in the philadelphia sports complex. You had eagles stadium the phillies stadium. You had veteran stadium. I you had to spectrum. You had the core states are wachovia. Wells fargo center You know at this point. Now you're down to a two three stadiums But it was all in this. Little complex spectrum was where the phantoms played was literally across the parking lot from where the fliers played so when they called a guy up or send him down. They were literally. Send them across the parking lot And it's it's very funny because like you said in in other cities you put the minor league team in a suburban area. I mean you even look at The the vegas golden knights. They're putting their new team and out and henderson which makes perfect sense philadelphia said not an hour. We're going to put it right next door to the flyers And it's it's not going to be a problem and sure enough. They sold out every almost every game for years. Are two questions on that on that front will hopefully let you go at some point The spectrum then at that point in the nineties with the phantoms ninety six through. I guess the through pretty much the the odds right The spectrum was essentially once the wachovia now core states. Or whatever it was called was was Basically the the little baby sister if you will Arena just. I'm i guess the question is why. Why would they keep that arena. Next door Especially since it was part of that you know relatively calm calm compact. He says sports complex versus just you know demolishing it and then leading all of the of the new arena. Take all of its All of its glory. So there's there's a couple of points to that the first is that there was actually enough demand for all of the shows and concerts and events. They had room with. They had enough demand to keep two buildings. Frankly so obviously they put all of the main events in the center You know the forty forty one flyers gained forty. One sixers games Disney on ice and all of the major things that That showed up in philadelphia every year but the spectrum know. The circus came to town every year Concerts every year. You know there's certain bands that you know almost called spectrum home that were they were there so often you know. Bruce springsteen played there all the time and so there was there was enough demand. There were enough events that warranted keeping both buildings open that's part of where the phantoms came from. They one one major tenant that they could count on for forty games a year you know. They tried some other minor minor. Sports like the kicks they eventually put the philadelphia soul in there. You know there are a lot of different teams that Tried the tried to To make it work in the spectrum but the phantoms were the main tenant just like the flyers were back in the day. the other side of it was You know try. Try going into tried being the one to go into snyder's office with that famous Scowl he always had an glare he would always give and tell him that you wanna tear down his baby in nine hundred six. No one was going to do that so instead they could use for the spectrum for many years until pretty much the point where the the building was just physically falling apart and they couldn't repair it anymore. But this was a into rounded up. This was this was a flyers lead. Minor league Franchise in relationship right both in terms of affiliation as well as co ownership and were real estate and all that stuff everything. Yeah so at that point in one thousand nine hundred sixty s when comcast partnered with ed snider and purchased a majority of the team. Comcast is the one that applied for the phantoms franchise so it was held under the same comcast spectacle umbrella. That still runs the flyers. Yeah that's interesting they sit to be. That's a very unique sort of a code. I guess to the story because here area we were talking about sort of the flyers which is kind of the beginning of our conversation right with Not only has gone onto success and becoming one of them. You know standout franchises in in the nhl of maud. Dave chore Here they are you know from business perspective From an arena perspective from a minor league affiliation perspective a broadening of the market right the family markets so to speak that can't afford the that's Ironically you'd think that that would be and and that being directly across the street literally and figuratively is a pretty unique situation. And and all part of i guess sort of the hockey history which i think is unique to philadelphia which you know. I'm not sure. The average fan. Maybe even philadelphia fully understands. Yeah and it really from the fan of chapter really does focus on the business side of it just because you know the history been told very well and so you know you touch the on is history but the business part of it is actually. What's fascinating to me at least in that you like you said you have a major league franchise running a minor league team which was unusual for the time and still unusual now but it really benefited the phantoms and the h. l. at a time when the age was looking for to put more teams in major cities They've really were a small a small market league at the time and they were trying to get into places like philadelphia and trying to get into a major cities around the country. So when you had the flyers who at the time they had various subsidiary companies are the ticketing company that a marketing company. They had an arena. Management company had a food concession company. It was a massive corporation at the time that comcast took it over and basically you know for example. It gives you the opportunity to to to double dip on everything from a business perspective. So if let's say pepsi calls the flyers and says we want to do a sponsorship in have our logo at center ice at the center you can say absolutely. Let's talk about that. But as part of the agreement we also like you to sponsor are minor league franchise and put your logo at their center ices. So there's a way where you can share a lot of the Business opportunities between the two teams and of course use the resources that the flyers have And at the center has in the spectrum has in to really ratchet up the revenue. I mean that the phantoms right out of the gate were exorbitantly successful. Both on the ice and in the box office. I mean they sold out games like crazy. I mean people lined outside the building to get tickets to games. Sometimes and you would have succeeded without the flyers possibly it probably would have been pretty successful but with the flyers owning it. Just kind of was a grand slam. There was no doubt that it was going to succeed. And you know it's a shame because the only reason they ended up moving was because they had to knock down the spectrum. You know who knows how long the phantoms would have stayed there. But basically the spectrum by two thousand nine had reached the end of its useful life and they had a choice of putting you know twenty thirty million dollars to to cut out the inside and rebuild it which was just not worth it to house a minor league franchise and so the decision ultimately was to knock it down in sullivan to someone who would eventually house an allentown which by the way is working out phenomenally if any if any of the fans philadelphia have not been to. That building up once fans are back allowed. A at games That that complex in that region is just remarkable what the phantoms have done up there on. That's and that's obviously a good for geographical Ownership of an and the sort of broadening the base so to speak right for sure That's a more sort of marketing genius. I guess that the flyers been able to kind of leverage over the years. All right one more quick question in an ultra promote an. I'll let you finally get on your life your calling back the quakers for a second I we try to sort of delve into this on a lot of other converse conversations and an explorations on this little show. Where does that history that one year. history Oddly that you know maybe many would like to forget as their ever been a call back to that by the flyers doma sailing. Were recognizing that history if you will at least the sweaters which were pretty cool looking or is it just a complete wallpapering of it and wore ignorance of it and then frankly who cares. No the flyers really have never touched on any of the pre flyers hockey history in the city. There was that rumor jersey for the winter. Classic that used the quakers jersey as the base for it. That never really. They never round abusing it. But you can find some knockoff ones online. Of course they look pretty cool to be honest but it was actually the phantoms who paid paid homage to some some hockey history both in philadelphia and around the hockey world They would do what's called. Turn back the clock nights where the team would wear an old jersey whether it was an old philadelphia jersey They they the flood bombers one night. Because that's where bobby clarke played his junior hockey They regularly paid homage to the To the history of the game. And that's something. That's very very amongst minor league hockey. A really take the history of the game very seriously whereas nhl teams they take their history seriously But it's different. You know you're going to a major league arena. You're going to a major league game. It's much much more serious i. It's a much bigger deal of course And so you may not even expected. Nhl team to delve that far back into history doesn't have any direct money sort of connection to their only has certainly but but at the same time you still want to see that history honored in some way shape or form. And that's what. I hope the book can do really. Yeah no i agree. And i i just think that you know i look. I don't think anybody wants dial it back to the quakers and talk about how they only one four at a forty four and one year of their brief existence right. But i you know if you're if you're smart and you're creative about it you can think about it as. Hey it's it's a callback to Philadelphia being truly original hockey city and being one of the first in the nhl history. Really i guess. I you know there's something to it right. And plus it's got a cool sort of creative thing that could be merchandise -able with that sweater in that logo right. So i don't know we we kinda. I very interesting to see how How history for current teams and call backs and stuff in heritage It seems to be a matter of convenience more than anything else. When it's convenient to make a buck They'll do it right. Like the carolina hurricanes conveniently remembering that the hartford whalers were you know became before them right and the heart people in hartford actually getting a little excited and orse also upset at the same time that it's being done sort of on the and where those revenues go right. It's the convenience of it sort of is just very but that history is there right and you're mentioning that the minor league stuff to you know there would. There's that hockey history that came in between those two h. L. tent poles. If you will it this probably money to be made there so to speak which is not maybe the the best reason but the history in between at the minor league levels and the fans that grew up and kinda kept that flame going until the flyers came in sixty seven and then you know and then with the phantoms. There's a hockey history there right that. You're you're touching on. Your book speaks to You'd think that Some sage You know folks in the organization might wanna you know go through the books a little bit and maybe get kinda on earth some of that. Maybe there's a few dollars to be made along the way. Okay so be lucky. Strike extra but there's a history there that And that heritage. God forbid could actually be resuscitate remembered and you know and just Put into people's minds as they understand what hockey's all about in the philadelphia area. You know that would be fantastic. And if we're both lucky someone high up at comcast cores listening and if they wanna put a little section at. The center are giving giving honor to the history of hockey in philadelphia. I will be the first in line to buy a ticket all right well. Let's give them. The specific excuse wanted to promote the book and the towel la the audience what it is specifically what's included in it and maybe what else you got up your sleeve. Perhaps in your your writing endeavors after this book. That just came out right. It came out about a month ago. Yes it is called out professional hockey in philadelphia. A history and essentially each chapter focuses on a different team that played in philadelphia from the time that the games were first planted here in eighteen. Ninety seven all the way to allow the phantoms left in two thousand nine. It's available in e book and it's available in paperback wherever books are sold your favorite online retailer and directly from the publisher on mcfarland. And what else you got in store any other ideas that you might want to Put pen to paper proverbially. Certainly there's always something everyone's thinking about but That's the kind of that's kind of fun of writing. Just you mess around. And you johnson stuff down and ninety nine percent of turns into nothing and then at some point that little one percent pops out in italian up with the book like this any other any other forgotten sports stuff that might be on your radar at some point. Nope but that's because it's forgotten. I have learned about it. Well there you go. we just did a An episode last week on A revisit of the national crossley the original one and the philadelphia wings the obviously in the current name Continues sort of the somewhat of the legacy. We're certainly part of that. Had tepper and the in the spectrum folks were were part of that mixture as well and that's a very interesting speed bump of history and we've also done a bunch we we actually had Ed tepper on this show as matter of fack talking about the founding of the major indoor soccer league which the spectrum was a a component of because that's where then philadelphia atoms played a couple of winter games and the russian national team came to play them and and that's where he got the idea at tepper did to actually put his dollars and his head together with some other people to actually created birth a sport that was kinda rattling around there. The indoor soccer thing in the late eighty s seventies that became philadelphia being the center of that too. So i don't know an inch and interestingly enough not to interrupt you but the major indoor soccer league earl foreman was instrumental in creating. that was actually ed snider. snyder's brother-in-law. Yeah absolutely i i. I really wish we could have gotten to add Before his passing because Mr foreman was also part of the ab as Starting baltimore and all that kind of stuff you know. But it's various all these things sort of come together but philadelphia. The almost in many respects a very solid cradle of sports entrepreneurialism and and pro sports innovation. The fact that you're in the middle of it. I you know i gotta think something will happen on the way when do let us know absolutely all right there. It is everything you wanted to know about professional hockey in philadelphia. And then some thank you to alan. You can follow. Allen's works at allen bass writing all were dot com bass's to as allen bass writing dot com. You can follow alan on twitter. At alan basked writing all one word. And what else. The book is called professional hockey in philadelphia. History it's published by our friends at mcfarland and it is available wherever you can find good books. of course. 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