With some time off of school, I'm finally getting around to reading Gene Hart's Flyers bible SCORE!: My Twenty-Five Years with The Broad Street Bullies. So, with that, expect some quotes and excerpts posted over the next couple weeks, since this book is chock full of awesome ones.
Hart actually called his first game with the Flyers at the Forum in Montreal. Well, he called his first period I guess you could say, as he tells us in the book that WCAU only had rights to broadcast the third periods over the radio in the Flyers' inaugural season.
... I can remember praying throughout the pre-game and the first two periods that the team wouldn't get blown out and be embarrassed by this great and famous hockey club, the Canadiens, perhaps before we even got on the air.
Bernie Parent started in goal in his hometown of Montreal, and he looked very sharp. The first goal of the game was scored by Leon Rochefort (nicknamed, naturally, "Cheesie"), who had been taken by the Flyers from Montreal in the expansion draft. Pat Hannigan scored a goal in the second period to make it two to nothing, but Montreal scored next to make it two to one, Flyers, after two periods. And that's when the Flyers and I made our first major-league broadcast: 'Hi from the Forum in Montreal. It's the National Hockey League, and our debut on WCAU, with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens.'
I couldn't have asked for a better period to broadcast. The Flyers had the only two goals of the period, and both were scored by the ex-Canadien Rochefort, which have him three for the night -- a hat trick. It was the first hat trick in Flyers' history, an it came about in the first Flyers' victory over one of the original six teams. And, of course, all of this happened in the Flyers' very first appearacnce in that most hallowed of hockey buildings, the Forum.
At first, the Montreal fans had looked upon the Flyers with disdain, almost as if they were a composite minor-league club. As the numbers on the Flyers' side of the scoreboard grew from "2-1" to "3-1" to "4-1," the reaction of the fans was one of surprise, and then amazement, and finally, appreciation. In the end, the crowd saluted the young scrappy Flyers with applause, particularly for Rochefort's hat trick and Parent's goaltending.
This book by Gene Hart is absolutely awesome (and I'm only on page 41), and if you haven't read it yet, go find a copy immediately. It's a must-read for any Flyers fan.
Let's hope the Flyers have a similiar performance in Montreal this evening.