Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Trashing Flyers Fans?

The Philadelphia Flyers hosted the Washington Capitals for game three of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  The Flyers team initially seemed inspired by the emotional pre-game tribute to the late owner Ed Snider and scored within the first minute of play at the Wells Fargo Center.  But then the momentum stopped for the Orange Crush, which brought out the worst in unhappy Flyers fans.

As the Flyers descended to an eventual 6-1 rout by the Capitals, Flyer fans got unruly. The towards the end of the game, giveaway bracelets began to pelt the ice and even hit Capital players on the bench. Despite the entreaties of  P.A. announcer Lou Nolan, the Philadelphia Flyers were assessed a bench minor penalty for delay of game as the shovel brigade worked to clear the playing surface from debris from pissed off fans.

Red Wings Head Ice Manager Al Sobatka
The Detroit Red Wings have to temper their fans enthusiasm in the playoffs but from the other end of the spectrum. A tradition started in 1952 that enthusiastic fans threw an octopus on the ice symbolizing the eight games that were needed to win the Stanley Cup at that time. In the 1980s, Red Wings fans tossed larger and larger cephalopods weighing 38 and 50 pounds.  The head ice manager would twirl the octopi above his head as he walked to the Zamboni.  The NHL tried to curtail this practice but the league relented after the hue and cry from fans in Octopus-gate.

Philadelphia Flyers fans are renowned for their fierce fanaticism. This seemingly reflects the region (as Veterans' Stadium had  a court and jail for rowdy football fans).  It is not surprising that Flyers fans emulate their team's legend.  During their heyday in the 1970s, the Flyers were known as the Broad Street Bullies. Their fans revel at intimidating and insulting their bete noirs.

To some extent, this fanaticism is admirable.  But it can be a vein for irascible and unmerited anger. Cheering injured players, taunting "traitors" (players now playing for opposing teams), attacking players in the penalty box,  booing Sarah Palin ceremonial puck drop and they even booed Santa Claus.  But what cemented the conceit of classlessness happened several years ago when a PSA played on the Jumbotron featuring several NHL stars in an anti-cancer spot.  The crowd booed because the anti-cancer ad featured it featured Penguin's star Norm Crosby et ali.

There is no particular desire for a unrepentant rivalry in the District of Calamity with the City of Brotherly Love. But it seems ashamed that Flyers fans projected their frustration being three games behind in the playoffs by trashing the ice and endangering players with their projectiles. It seems that Lord Stanley might not want a cheese steak this season.

At a rally prior to the start of the series, I met a woman who was former military fully rockin' the red (including a red coif) who was driving up to the game in Philadelphia with a friend who is a big Flyers fan who was on shore leave.  I shudder at the mood on the ride home based upon the behavior displayed at the arena. 

No comments:

Post a Comment