Flyers Name 6 Finalists for Hall of Fame: Who Goes In Next?
As an NHL franchise for entering their 54th season, the Philadelphia Flyers are rich with history. From entering the league as part of the first expansion group to becoming the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup to posting over 2,000 wins in franchise history, there have been many players along the way that have been key pieces to the overall success.
While only a select few have entered the Hockey Hall of Fame primarily playing their career in Philadelphia and only six players have received the ultimate honor of having their number retired, 25 honorees have entered the Flyers Hall of Fame.
It has been over five years since the last inductee, Jimmy Watson, entered the Flyers Hall of Fame on Feb. 29, 2016. That will be changing this upcoming season.
Last Tuesday, the Flyers officially announced plans to induct at least one new member to the Flyers Hall of Fame this upcoming season and a new voting process and committees for doing so.
The selection process is comprised of two committees – first a nomination committee and then a voting committee. These committees include current Flyers Hall of Fame members, additional Flyers alumni, Flyers front office members, broadcasters and members of the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA).
The nomination committee will comprise a list of finalists for consideration upon review of former players and members of the organization. The voting committee will then cast votes to determine inductees. The number of inductees will be based on finalist votes and is not limited to one inductee.
The finalists were named on Tuesday morning, with six members of the Flyers long and storied franchise being up for possible induction later this season. Here’s a closer look at the six and their case to join the names in the rafters.
Simon Gagne - For 11 of his 14 years in the NHL, Simon Gagne wore the Flyers uniform. Gagne came onto the scene in 1999-2000 as a 19-year-old rookie and posted 48 points in 80 games, including 20 goals. Gagne reached 30 goals four times in his career and topped 40 goals twice, finishing his Flyers career with 264 goals, 10th all-time in Flyers history, and 535 points in 691 games. His games played total ranks 13th in Flyers history and his points total ranks 12th.
Paul Holmgren - While many younger fans will remember him solely for his management career, Paul Holmgren has been a part of the Flyers organization for more than four decades. From his playing days to becoming the head coach to working his way through the management ranks as a scout, Director of Scouting, assistant general manager and eventually general manager and team president, Holmgren’s overall dedication and involvement with the franchise makes him deserving of such an honor.
Bob Kelly - Chances are if you’ve been to a Flyers game, you have probably run into Bob “The Hound” Kelly. As a player, he was a grinder that embodied the city of Philadelphia, and his biggest moment wearing the Orange and Black was the deciding goal in Game 6 of the 1975 Stanley Cup Final, clinching the Flyers second straight Stanley Cup. Following his playing career, Kelly has been a fixture of the community as an ambassador for the team. His continued representation of the team is certainly reason enough for him to be welcomed into the Flyers Hall of Fame.
Lou Nolan - There are certainly several members of the Flyers Hall of Fame who never took the ice for the team, from founder and chairman Ed Snider to team president Joe Scott to general manager Keith Allen and head coach Fred Shero. There’s another member of the Flyers family that has been a part of the in-arena experience for as long as the team has existed. Since 1972, Lou Nolan has been the public address announcer for the Flyers, the voice of the Spectrum and Wells Fargo Center. From his familiar goal announcements and telling fans the Flyers are going on “the PECO Power Play” to emceeing historic moments in Flyers history from retired number ceremonies and Flyers Hall of Fame inductions, this longtime staple of Flyers history deserves a place among the rest of the team’s legends. Nolan is an original Flyer, starting with the team in 1967 as a press box assistant.
Mark Recchi - In Flyers history, only three members of the Top 10 in assists and points are not in the Flyers Hall of Fame. Two of them are excluded for good reason – their careers are still active. Mark Recchi is the exception. Recchi played parts of 10 seasons with the Flyers and amassed 232 goals and 395 assists for 627 points over 602 games. That ranks him sixth in assists and ninth in points in franchise history. The 2017 Hockey Hall of Famer should be an obvious nominee.
Rick Tocchet - Rick Tocchet entered the league and the Flyers as a 20-year-old in the 1984-85 season and immediately made an impact for a team that reached the Stanley Cup Final that season. For parts of the next seven seasons, Tocchet was a fixture for the Flyers. Late in his career, he returned to the Flyers and concluded his 11 seasons with the Orange and Black with 232 goals and 508 points in 621 games. Tocchet is also the franchise leader in an infamous statistic: penalty minutes, totaling 1,815 for his career.
The Flyers Hall of Fame currently has 25 inductees. Here they are, listed by year starting with the inaugural class of 1988.
- 1988 - Bob Clarke and Bernie Parent
- 1989 - Bill Barber, Ed Snider and Keith Allen
- 1990 - Rick MacLeish and Fred Shero
- 1991 - Barry Ashbee and Gary Dornhoefer
- 1992 - Reggie Leach and Gene Hart
- 1993 - Joe Scott and Ed Van Impe
- 1994 - Tim Kerr
- 1996 - Joe Watson
- 1999 - Brian Propp
- 2001 - Mark Howe
- 2004 - Dave Poulin
- 2008 - Ron Hextall
- 2009 - Dave Schultz
- 2014 - Eric Lindros and John LeClair
- 2015 - Eric Desjardins and Rod Brind’Amour
- 2016 - Jimmy Watson