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Chatting with Brian Propp and Tim Kerr on player and organizational relations in the NHL

Hey, the Flyers are pretty good at this!

2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Alumni Game Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The 2018-19 trade deadline has now passed. From the Flyers perspective, the biggest story of the deadline was learning that Wayne Simmonds would no longer be a Flyer. He goes to Nashville and in return the Flyers roster now sports Ryan Hartman and a future third or fourth round pick.

During the day, I was shocked to find out about a story concerning Mikael Granlund. The former Minnesota Wild forward was traded to the Nashville Predators for Kevin Fiala, which normally would not be notable, after all players do get traded, it’s part of the game. However, it came out that Granlund was traded while his wife was in labor with their first child. “To have this happen makes it even more difficult to disrupt people’s lives,” said Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton on trading Granlund.

This exchange got me thinking about the ways players and organizations interact in hockey, and about how different organizations treat their players. In light of the reports concerning Ron Hextall, it was noted how the organization wished to return to the familial atmosphere the Flyers have been known for. The Flyers have historically been one of the most highly rated organizations by current and former players, and as such, I decided to reach out to two former Flyers to ask about this. I spoke to both Brian Propp and Tim Kerr, who primarily played with the Flyers in the 1980’s, about their experiences with the Flyers:

When you played, how transparent of a relationship did you have between the front office and yourself? Did this differ between the Flyers and other organizations (if applicable)?

Brian Propp:

When I was a rookie I talked with Joe Kadlec the PR guy and Ceil Baker the ticket lady. We always stopped in to say hello. That was awesome for me to know them. Now, the players use the PR people to get the tickets to them.

Tim Kerr:

The Flyers organization was 2nd to no one. They took care of their players on and off the ice.

Did you feel like the Flyers took into account your personal life when dealing with personnel moves?

Propp:

With personnel changes year by year it is a job so people don’t get into their private life too much.

Kerr:

They not only took care of the players but also welcomed their families as well.

Did you feel welcomed by the organization?

Propp:

The Flyers were awesome to me from the start. I hung around with Frank Bathe a lot. They always make me feel comfortable.

Kerr:

First class in every aspect. Travel, Hotels etc.

Would you say the flyers have a good reputation as an organization?

Propp:

The Flyers are one of the top organizations to work with. Every player wanted to play for them.

Kerr:

Ed Snider was the best owner in Hockey. Always had the players well-being in front of the business side

How important do you think player/managerial or organizational relations are?

Propp:

“It is very important to have great relations with the organization. ”

Propp added “I played for the Flyers for 11 seasons, did the Radio for 9 years and now I am in my third year as the ambassador. I have loved all of the time as a player, radio announcer and ambassador.”

It’s evident from Propp and Kerr’s comments that the Flyers are definitely deserving of their reputation. While hockey may be a business, the Flyers have managed to cement themselves as one of hockey’s classiest and premier organizations, a feat which we cannot ignore. Especially around the trade deadline, in our analysis we almost quantify players in statistics and contract details, which can be essential for proper analysis and success, but sometimes it is forgotten that hockey is only as good as the people who lace up to play it. After all, a happy organization is a good organization.