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Flyers History: How the team was named

A look at the story behind the official naming of the Philadelphia Flyers

Wednesday, 06.5.2013 / 9:29 AM ET / News
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Flyers History: How the team was named
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The following story is from the book Full Spectrum, written by Jay Greenberg...

On July 12, 1966 one of the Philadelphia hockey franchise owners (Bill) Putnam announced a contest to give the team a name. Naturally there had been no shortage of ideas. “Quakers” and “Ramblers” were two traditional suggestions, but (Ed) Snider saw that the Philadelphia Quakers, that sorry NHL entry of 1930-31, remained in the league record book with a half-share of the mark for the fewest victories in a season. He and Putnam wanted a fresh identification. They also feared that the name Ramblers could conjure old images of the seedy minor-league team and the Arena. People had to be made to understand that this was a new, major-league, team playing in a modern, comfortable building.

In early correspondence, Putnam had proposed the names Lancers, Raiders, Royals, Knights and Sabres. Liberty Bells also held some intrigue, but there was already a harness track in Philadelphia by that name and besides, “Liberty Bells” would not connote action or strength, only history. Huskies, Blizzards, and Icecaps, Bashers, Bruisers, and Keystones were all suggested.

But Putnam and Snider don’t remember anything grabbing them until one night on the New jersey Turnpike when Snider, his wife, his sister Phyllis and her husband Earl Foreman, and the Putnam’s stopped at a Howard Johnson’s, ordered from the list of twenty-eight flavors, and kicked around some similar number of names.
    
On their way home after seeing a Broadway show, they were looking for a stopper name for their hockey team. “I was thinking of people skating and sliding around the ice,” Phyllis recalls, “and the ‘Flyers’ just popped into my head. Everybody thought it was great.”

The “Philadelphia Flyers” had alliterative pizzazz, conveyed motion and excitement, and was short enough to fit into newspaper headlines. Snider told Phyllis, “That’s the name, but you can’t win the contest.” Flyers, it would be.

The contest ran for ten days in July. More than 11,000 entries were submitted, including Ice picks, Acmes, Philly-Billies, Greenbacks, Scars, and Strips and Croaking Crickets. Liberty Bell and Quakers got the most votes, but Flyers, of course, got the only votes that counted. On August 3, the team announced its new name at an outdoor conference at the arena construction site. 

Alec Stockard, a 9-year-old boy from Narberth, one of the untold numbers of entrants who had submitted the name “Flyers,” won the television in a drawing conducted by Putnam. However, Stockard had spelled it “Fliers.” None of the teams founders recall why the second dictionary spelling of the word-with a “y” instead of an “i”-was chosen.

Here's a look back at the original Philadelphia Flyers team from the 1967-68 season.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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