No matter what divides us, we know that one thing binds us together above all else: our love of fashion. Who doesn’t love a good boot cut?
I’m just joshing. Anyone who willingly wears a boot cut jean should be in jail.
In all seriousness, our love of the often-imitated, never-duplicated Philadelphia Flyers transcends lots of shit. In a lot of ways, the style of the franchise informs a lot of our own style! Don’t believe me? Take a look at your wardrobe. Go ahead, I’ll wait here in this liminal space I’ve created for myself.
Back already? Boy, you sure are the speedy one! Alright, now estimate what percentage of that wardrobe is orange. At least 30 percent, I’m guessing. And we all know that orange isn’t your color. (It’s not mine either. It's nobody’s, really.)
I’ve decided to take a look back on some of the most iconic moments in the Flyers style history books, both to revel in the beauty and to learn from folly. Take notes, take shots, whatever gets you by.
You know how hockey pants are called hockey pants? They’re not really pants. They’re hockey shorts. They must be called pants, though, for the equivalent of real hockey pants are Cooperalls, which had to be destroyed in the fires of Mordor.
Inarguably the most infamous of fashion choices stemming from the club, Cooperalls were a big fuckin’ disaster from start to finish. It was groundbreaking, for sure, but as we learned in the early 80s, maybe some ground should stay unbroken.
Cooperalls are extremely goofy looking. In that way, and in only that way, I kind of respect them. There’s something very charming about grown men looking like kids in snow pants. Unfortunately, Cooperalls are incredibly dangerous, causing players to slide far easier and faster when they fall down (which is a frequent occurrence in the very sophisticated sport of ice hockey). For this reason, Cooperalls were banned and the Flyers were forced to retire this gorgeous, beautiful, stupid mistake of a pant.
Eric Lindros could do no wrong in Philadelphia, and that is evidenced most clearly in the most amazing facial hair this city’s ever seen.*
Goatees are questionable on just about anyone. For reference, here’s Jamie Benn with a goatee (and a weakass chin strap). Who let him do that? Who allowed it to happen? We all share the blame for this, I’m afraid. Plekanec is another, but he’s on a totally different level of no fucks given with that turtleneck. I don't even know if dude owns a mirror. Maybe he's never even heard of one. Surely he's seen his reflection at some point?
Eric Lindros made that shit work, though. He was a goddamn hero. I can’t even pretend that I don’t think he was working that shit. He absolutely was. Eric Lindros tried his damnedest to break the goatee stigma, and while it worked for him, please don’t for a second think it will work for you. He is a beautiful phenom, and you are very small comparatively.
(Important side note: in researching for this very crucial piece, I googled “eric lindros goatee” out of necessity. Did you know that there’s a person in the world named Lindros Beard? A real human man is named Lindros Beard. And he plays hockey! Sometimes, the world is beautiful. Sometimes God reaches down and says you know what? They deserve something nice. Lindros Beard is that nice thing. Thank you, Lindros. You may not be the best hockey player, but in my heart, I’m hoping you’re a good guy.)
*Opinion does not represent Broad Street Hockey or SBNation.
The Devil’s Thirds
The Flyers have done one smart thing for the great majority of their history, and to no one’s surprise, it has fuckall to do with hockey: they keep their grubby little hands off the logo. Don’t mess with success. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s what they always say, those two things. And for the most part, the Flyers have abided by those rules.
Oh, but when they didn’t ... god bless the glorious aughts. They gave us this nightmare.
It was a different time. People wore Von Dutch hats. Just, like, because they thought they were cool, I guess? It’s mind-boggling that we, the human race, survived. The aforementioned chromed-out, 3D-looking mess of a logo is the hockey version of a Von Dutch hat. It is, was, and forever will remain, a sick blight on our beautiful illustrious record of good logos. At least they had the good sense to retire that before we hit 2010, when everyone collectively came to their senses about low-rise jeans and purposefully displayed whale tail.
There are some things in the world that objectively shouldn’t exist, and you know it. They’re not supposed to exist, and maybe you even mock them. Deep down, though, a secret part of you, some small tucked-away corner of your soul, loves those things. Admires them. Respects them at the very least. That part of you cherishes them for what the are: horrific Eldritch abominations that make you glad not to be of their shadow realm.
When Scott Hartnell and Jakub Voracek dyed their beards black in 2014, nearly every part of me was shocked. Terrified. Nearly.
Here's the best I could do snapping a pic of Hartnell's dyed beard! pic.twitter.com/wW7cJyVuXY— Sarah Baicker (@sbbaicker) April 17, 2014
And for comparison's sake, here's what I was able to get of Jake Voracek's dye job pic.twitter.com/YRIaKQnXC0— Sarah Baicker (@sbbaicker) April 17, 2014
I didn’t understand it. I still don’t understand it. I don’t think anyone does. What possessed them to do it? Maybe the horrors of the coming offseason were foretold to them and them alone, and they were signaling the end of times to the rest of us mere mortals. There’s just something so glorious about it, the two-toned ordeal feeling more like a dream than anything. If there wasn’t proof of it, I might think it was a dream. Hell, there are pictures above, and I still think maybe it was a dream.
Fearless, Courageous and Exemplary Use of the Color Orange
Finally, we’ve come to the most important, most influential of all: orange. The Flyers were the first NHL team to adopt orange as one of their colors, and in a sea of blue and red, this team stands out whether you want them to or not.
Orange isn’t an easy color, either. There’s a reason teams stick to a pretty basic few colors. No one wants to be the strange one. No one wants to break with tradition or normalcy. Red, white, blue, and black. These are sports colors. Maybe occasionally you'll see some green, some yellow. Orange is loud and a lot of the time, it's unique. The Flyers are loud and unique in their look, and that's something to be admired.
Oh. And fuck all these other teams trying to come in and adopt orange like it’s theirs. Edmonton can eat my butt. Anaheim can go fall in a hole. This is our shit. Listen, the Oilers were so ashamed of their orange during the ‘90s that they made it bronze. BRONZE. They didn’t go all the way back to orange until this decade. And now they wanna straight up steal orange crush like it’s some kind of brilliant new thing that they thought up off the dome? Bye. Literally bye. Don’t get me started on the Ducks. Little trash monsters with their little stripe of orange. You don’t get to use “paint it orange” until you’ve had the color in your scheme for more than, oh, I don’t know, ten fuckin’ minutes, you Mickey Mouse sons of bitches.
I could yell about this unfair appropriation for six hundred more words, but I think you get the point. The Flyers have bravery pouring out of their asses, and everyone else can get a grip.
And there you have it! These are what I consider the most formative or otherwise most remarkable moments in fashion for the Flyers, but I’m interested to hear what you think.