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SB Nation Marvel Week: The best characters in Flyers history

No superheroes here, though some certain probably feel like they’re invincible.

Vegas Golden Knights v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

It’s Marvel Cinematic Universe week at the mothership (SB Nation), and here at Broad Street Hockey are dabbling in the cinematic amid another week sans the hockey team, the Flyers.

That said, the Marvel Universe is known for some pretty epic films, and perhaps even more-so the cast of characters that Marvel possesses as part of said feature films. Like Marvel, the Flyers have a deep history of epic thrillers, and have had more than their fare share of great characters along the way as well.

Today’s exercise? Who are the best “characters” in Flyers history? We’ll share some of our favorites and be sure to drop yours in down below in the comments.

Kevin Hayes

Alright so we’re only like 69 games into the Hayes era, and my lord is he ever on pace to go down as one of the all-time great Flyers characters. Take it from him, he used to ref.

As if you needed anymore evidence.

Travis Konecny

Like Hayes above him, TK hasn’t been around long but has already started to endear himself to fans.

TK isn’t afraid to mix things up on the ice and his trash talking has already become sort of legend in just his third full season in the NHL. Not only has his personality attracted fans and teammates alike, but his play on the ice has elevated to new heights as well this season.

His combination of grit, skill, and personality has made him a fixture for the Flyers’ team persona, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

Eat up, bud.

Jaromir Jagr

Though the future Hall of Famer spent just one season in Philadelphia, Jagr’s larger-than-life personality permeated throughout the 2011-12 team. His confidence helped take Claude Giroux and the Flyers to new heights and gave HBO plenty of content while filming 24/7 on the road to the Winter Classic.

Ilya Bryzgalov

It’s almost impossible to talk about Flyers personalities without touching on Bryz —and that’s just taking into account his short career with the Orange and Black. We’re not even talking about his other stops that included such sound bytes from his Anaheim days, or even some bizarre ones from his time in Phoenix with the Coyotes.

Though nobody could have ever foreseen his massive contract —and the subsequent changes the Flyers needed to make to accommodate such contract— not working out well, Bryz did provide us with plenty of memorable moments off the ice. Not enough to table his on-ice performance, but it was never boring with Mr. Universe in town.

Jeremy Roenick

The controversial Roenick provided his fare share of sound bytes before his time with the Flyers, and that sure didn’t change much when JR arrived in Philadelphia.

On the ice, Roenick brought his flair for the dramatic to the Orange and Black, with his overtime goal in the 2004 Stanley Cup playoffs serving as a look at the raw emotion that JR brought to the franchise.

He also wasn’t afraid of being outspoken about all things ranging from NHL officiating to Ken Hitchcock’s stern demeanor, and plenty in between.

One thing we all know about JR is that he always knows when the camera and microphones are on him, and he rarely disappointed during his playing career though his post playing career has gotten him into some seriously hot water.

Scott Hartnell

Long before fans were tortured into mediocrity by then-general manager Ron Hextall and coach Dave Hakstol, the Flyers were very fun under Peter Laviolette! And one of the players at the center of that fun? Scott Hartnell.

From his “Down Goes Hartnell” campaign for charity to his antics in provoking his bitter rivals by evoking Hulk Hogan, and “Suck it, Phaneuf,” Hartsy became a cult phenomenon during his time with the Flyers.

On the ice he embodied everything you want in a Flyer: he’d hit, fight, scrap, chirp, and then score to top things off. Off the ice he was an all-world ambassador for the Flyers and even penned a children’s book along the way.

We’ve got a lot of time for Scott Hartnell.

Bernie Parent

From afternoon naps with his German Shepherd, sniffing teammates’ new shoes, and his love for The Three Stooges, they only made one Bernie Parent.

The oddball was the perfect backstop for the Stanley Cup winning teams in 1974 and 1975, who relied on Parent’s outstanding goaltending and general quirkiness to melt into one of the most iconic hockey teams of all-time.

As Bobby Clarke put it, “Bernie wasn’t half-crazy, he was all crazy.” And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Broad Street Bullies

Expanding upon Bernie above, the entire Bullies era fits in here as that group of players combined to form one of the most iconic teams and team brands of all-time. On the ice they’d terrorize opponents physical, mentally, and on the scoreboard.

Off the ice? Well they were just a bunch of crazy dudes who worked hard, had that blue collar Philadelphia mentality, and also happened to love to have a good time over at Rexy’s.

The coaches

Peter Laviolette

We talked earlier about how Laviolette’s teams generally were some of the funnier, crazier teams and while the players themselves played a tremendous part int that, their coach at the time certainly didn’t hurt either.

From his fiery timeouts (sorry Ville) to his interactions with other coaching staffs, Lavy brought personality behind the Flyers bench unmatched by nearly anyone else in franchise history.

Though the Lavy era ended rather unceremoniously, it was undoubtedly a fun time to be a Flyers fan, and one that dwarfed what was soon on the horizon in the form of our next coach.

Dave Hakstol

Totally kidding, this dude had the personality of off-white paint.

Credit: Sons of Penn
Credit: Sons of Penn

Mike Keenan

Better know for his fiery outbursts elsewhere, Keenan became know as “Iron Mike” behind the bench and guided the Flyers to two Stanley Cup Finals appearances that they’d likely have won if it weren’t for perhaps the greatest dynasty in the history of the NHL in the 1980’s Oilers.

Like Laviolette, Keenan ran a tight ship and fans gravitated towards his aggressive coaching style. Players recall the level of accountability that each was responsible for under Keenan’s close watch as being a driving factor behind their success together despite open tensions.

Keenan was tough but almost always seemed to get the most out of his players, and was valued enough by Flyers owner Ed Snider that Snider eventually admitted he made a mistake in firing him after the 1989 season.

Of course Keenan spurned the offer from Snider and went on to win a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994 for which Keenan said that Snider never forgave him for.

Fred Shero

To tame the wild bunch that was the 1970’s Flyers, there was only one man capable of balancing the teams’ raw aggression and skill: Fred “The Fog” Shero.

Shero was far from a conventional coach, and that meshed perfectly with far from conventional hockey team. He routinely avoiding talking to his players and instead wrote messages on the blackboard for the team with some striking a cord and others missing any sort of mark whatsoever.

A tireless student of the game, Shero was the first coach to employ an assistant on the bench, and spent countless hours watching film of opponents to gain an inside edge.


Got a character that we forgot above? Drop them in comments and share an anecdote if possible!