That was a popular bumper sticker during the 70’s when Bernie Parent dominated the nets for the Philadelphia Flyers. Only the Lord did save more than Bernie but I assure you, he never signed more autographs than Bernie did this past weekend!
This past weekend was the 34th Annual Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival and I was honored to sit in the Alumni Booth with some of the Flyer greats of the past. It is funny when you get older how your perspective changes and you notice things you maybe did not when you were younger. I remember my first Carnival in 1987, being in the dunk tank as most rookies do. I was amazed at the attendance and commitment by the fans to come and see their favorite players and support a great cause. I paid little attention to what the Alumni guys were doing and what was going on. Times do change…..This past weekend I sat two seats down from Bernie and watched him graciously sign autographs from 12:30 in the afternoon til nearly 6pm. Not only did he sign but he chatted with people, let them take pictures, smiled at each and every one of them and also made sure everyone got to hear his legendary laugh. (which by the way is probably the greatest laugh in all of sports…) Not just Bernie, the other greats like Bob Clarke, Bill Barber, Dave Schultz, Joe Watson, Bob Kelly (who was right beside me and cracked me up all day.thanks Bob!) Gary Dornhoefer, Orest Kinderchuck and Don Saleski. All members of the Stanley Cup teams. Not to mention, Ed Hospodar, Brian Propp, Ray Allison, Andre Faust and others. But make no mistake, the people waited in line for almost 2 HOURS to interact with those guys who won the cup. It is an amazing thing in sports to see the connection those fans still have for those guys some 35 year later!
After seeing it up close I can kind of understand why though. Not just Bernie but those other guys were there for over 5 hours, not breaking, interacting with and making all the people that came through that line feel pretty special. It was beyond amusing to see people bring up a picture they have had for over 30years of Dave Schultz in a beautiful 70’s leisure suit with his arm around them as he is leaving a game and hearing Dave tell them, “hang on to that picture because that suit is coming back in style!!!”
That is what is great about the Hockey guys. They get it. It was all done for charity and giving a little bit back.
Not sure if the other sports are like that, I kind of doubt it, but I am glad I got to see it. I am also very glad they don’t make the Alumni guys go in the dunk tank. Not sure how they would look in swimsuits now!!!……:)
So to the current Flyers team, go get it done and you can look forward to the same treatment 35 years from now……we’re pulling for you.
And to the real heroes
Up until this weekend, the Flyers Wives Carnival has raised over 23 million dollars for Philadelphia charities. An incredible accomplishment! I have heard that this years event was a record breaker so that number will increase a great amount. Congratulations to all who work very hard all year to make it the success that it is. There are many people involved and all should be very proud of the commitment they have and the difference they are making!!!!