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Why I’m a Flyers fan: The 1997 Stanley Cup Finals

The Flyers’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals put hockey on my radar for good.

Rod Brind''amour Getty Images

Welcome to the refreshed Broad Street Hockey! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to do the same, head over to the FanPosts to begin. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones from around our network. Come Fan With Us!

Hockey wasn’t on my radar at first when I was younger. The Eagles were the only Philadelphia team that my parents went out of their way to watch on a regular basis, though I certainly attended my fair share of “pick your own section” nights at the Vet to see the awful Phillies teams of the late 90s. But the Flyers were just a team that played a sport I didn’t care about, with most of their games on a channel (PRISM) that we didn’t have at my house.

That all changed in 1997, when the Flyers went on their playoff run to the Stanley Cup Finals. I don’t remember rounds 1 & 2 especially well, but I remember my mother pulling me into the living room to watch the conference finals against the New York Rangers, which was my first real introduction to the sport. I knew the big names already, just from hearing kids discuss them at school — Eric Lindros, John LeClair, Rod Brind’Amour — but it was the speed of all the players when watching live that really hooked me in. I was truly sold after Game 4, when Lindros scored with less than 10 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Flyers a 3-1 series lead. At the time, I didn’t realize the impact of the goal, or the unlikelihood of a playoff game ending like that. All I knew was that it was action-packed, and I wanted more.

The Cup Finals obviously weren’t nearly as fun. With Game 4 winding down, my dad told my mother and I half-jokingly, “You’re just bandwagon hoppers, you won’t keep watching next year.” My mother, who was a hockey fan growing up and was just rediscovering her love for the game, responded with a simple “wanna bet?”

And when the opener of the 1997-98 Flyers season rolled around, there were my mother and I, crowded in front of our television in Northeast Philadelphia, watching the Flyers, as we would for every game afterward.

Share your Flyers fan origin story with us in the FanPosts and be entered into a chance to win a $500 Fanatics gift card!

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