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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 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 76 21 55 7 76
C. Giroux 75 23 46 2 69
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
M. Streit 75 9 36 -10 45
B. Schenn 76 14 25 -7 39
S. Couturier 76 13 17 1 30
M. Del Zotto 58 9 20 -5 29
M. Read 74 7 22 -7 29
M. Raffl 61 20 6 7 26
V. Lecavalier 52 7 11 -10 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 15 17 11 .927 2.24
R. Emery 10 10 6 .892 3.15
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