Building ‘The Standard’: A behind-the-scenes look at the Flyers’ behind-the-scenes docuseries
The Flyers are keen on providing fans with more in-depth access to the team, and the club’s new docuseries is an exciting step in that direction.
In December of 2011, Philadelphia Flyers fans embarked on a journey that many still reflect on to this day. The Flyers were gearing up to take on the New York Rangers in the 2012 NHL Winter Classic, and in preparation for the outdoor tilt at Citizens Bank Park, HBO produced a thrilling, behind-the-scenes chronicling of the lead-up to the clash that set the bar high for all hockey docuseries that followed — 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic.
The series produced countless unforgettable moments in Flyers history, from Peter Laviolette’s “You win a period, you win a game” speech to Ilya Bryzgalov’s hilarious infatuation with the universe. Those moments made the weeks leading up to the Winter Classic a can’t-miss ride, and the Flyers took notice.
Over a decade later, the Flyers are trying to offer fans a similar experience in the lead-up to the 2022-23 season, and they’re doing so by producing a behind-the-scenes docuseries of their own — The Standard.
The Standard is a four-episode voyage that details the grueling challenge of competing for an NHL roster spot in training camp. The series follows key veterans, like Kevin Hayes and Scott Laughton, to young, unproven players looking to make their mark on the Flyers, like Morgan Frost and Tanner Laczynski. And through the series’ engrossing story-telling, the urgency within the organization to return to contention is made abundantly clear.
Unlike the 24/7 series, though, The Standard isn’t produced by an enormous video crew — something HBO always has ready at a moment’s notice. In fact, The Standard has taken shape largely thanks to the work of just a handful of the Flyers’ top creative minds on the digital team.
“The digital and creative team that puts this show together deserves a lot of credit,” said Flyers president of business operations Valerie Camillo.
“With just a handful of shooters and editors, they’ve created a series that is incredibly watchable and well-produced. The team behind The Standard has pulled several all-nighters to make the show the best it can be for the fans. The series is a product of talented, hard-working people, and of course, [John Tortorella] and the rest of the hockey operations department who have permitted the cameras to go behind the scenes throughout training camp.”
Tortorella is no stranger to being featured in a series like this. He also played a prominent role in 24/7, then serving as the Rangers’ head coach. His fiery locker room address to the Rangers during a particularly uninspiring effort against the St. Louis Blues ended up being one of the highlights of the series.
While Tortorella is widely regarded as a tough, no-nonsense bench boss, he has always been very accommodating to video crews in the production of series like 24/7, and that hasn’t been any different for The Standard. And since the series’ very first episode, it’s become even more evident (if it wasn’t already rather obvious) that there are few coaches more suited to coach in Philadelphia than Torts.
“There’s nobody like Torts, and since the day he was hired, he has been 100% committed to representing this historic organization in the right way,” said Camillo. “From Day One, he’s been working with Flyers Charities, with Snider Youth Hockey and Education and many other community partners. He is showing his heart for this city.
“And, Torts just gets it. He gets what it means to be a Flyer. In the very first episode, when he’s talking to the team before training camp starts, he says to them, ‘This is the [bleeping] Philadelphia Flyers,’ and that’s what we need. This is a proud franchise, and we want to embrace that. The team isn’t yet where we all want it to be, and Torts is honest about that, but he is also clear that we are still the Flyers and we need to think and act like it. It’s about work ethic, confidence and commitment.”
Since joining the Flyers in 2018, Camillo, formerly of the NBA and Washington Nationals, has emphasized the importance of providing fans with in-depth access to the team, and her vision has become particularly key as the Flyers begin the start of a new era. Gone are Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere — longtime members of the Flyers’ core. The club is now establishing an entirely new identity, and as a result, fans are still adjusting.
To help bridge the gap, Camillo and company have made the creation of fan experiences a prime concern, and behind-the-scenes shows like The Standard are critical in getting fans to feel engaged with the team again. Unfortunately, accomplishing this goal has been a monumental challenge since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over the past couple of years with COVID restrictions in place, it’s been difficult to connect our players with our fans and the community, so as we emerge from the pandemic, one of my top priorities has been to fix that. It’s been all-hands-on-deck effort. We’re more involved in the community than ever, we’re pairing each of our players with charitable causes and community relations efforts, and we fought to get our media locker room access.
“The Standard is part of that very same effort to help our fans really know the players on the team — especially some of the new, young faces on the roster — because the Flyers really belong to the city and our fans.
“The Flyers have a very special, very deep connection with this city, and we want to both honor that and keep building on it, too.”
In order to keep building on it, more in-depth, player-focused content is already in the works. The Flyers already launched another new web series called Beyond the Boards over the summer, which follows the day-to-day life of players during the offseason. The episode focused on Wade Allison — which you can view here — was especially entertaining as it provided a comprehensive look into the life of one of the Flyers’ younger, more vibrant personalities.
Fans may not have been thrilled with the “aggressive retool” the Flyers underwent from an on-ice personnel standpoint this offseason, but the recalibration of fan engagement off the ice is an exciting step forward for those looking to reconnect to the team.
Content like The Standard and Beyond the Boards is just the start, and the Flyers are feverishly prepared to generate more of it.
“Absolutely,” said Camillo.
“We plan to keep this kind of access and content coming to our fans.”