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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 - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
5 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

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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