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HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEITH!

Keith Allen celebrated his 90th birthday Wednesday with family and friends

Saturday, 08.24.2013 / 8:05 AM / News
By Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter

NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA – The grand foyer of the senior living community was bustling with activity Wednesday afternoon.

Residents were gathering while staff was putting the final touches on the setup. The singer who would entertain the crowd with his velvety voice, crooning along to well-known standards was making last-second adjustments to his sound board.

Then, the family of the honored guest entered, and took their place on the chairs situated at the foot of the main staircase in the foyer.

It was then that the star of the show arrived.

Dressed in his new purple shirt that his wife Joyce got him for the occasion, Keith Allen, the original Flyers coach and general manager of the Broad Street Bullies teams that won the franchise’s two Stanley Cups, entered the room.

The applause was polite, yet loud. The smile grew on his face as he saw his family and friends.

He quickly became situated next to Joyce, as the singer prepared his opening song.

Allen quickly glanced across the room. There, leaning against the wall was one of his former players. They made eye contact. The player winked. Allen smiled again.

“It’s his 90th birthday and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” said Joe Watson. “This man means so much to me. He gave us all a chance in the sport of hockey and we should all be eternally grateful.”

Which is why Watson didn’t mind standing there for 90 minutes listening to Pete Cannella sing his heart out.

It was important that he was there for Allen through the entire ceremony because Allen was there for him so many years ago.

Allen still holds the title of Executive Vice President with the Flyers, an organization with which he has been 47 years.

After serving as the coach for the first four seasons of the team’s existence, Allen became the general manager and served in that position for 14 years.

He earned the nickname “Keith the Thief” for being able to pull off so many savvy trades and having great success in the draft.

Allen was responsible for either drafting or trading for some of the greatest players in Flyers history including Bernie Parent, Bill Barber, Rick MacLeish, Andre Dupont, Reggie Leach, Paul Holmgren, Bob Kelly, Ron Sutter, Ron Hextall, Brian Propp, Pelle Lindbergh, Tim Kerr, Dave Poulin and Mark Howe.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992 under the Builders category, the same category that earned Flyers chairman Ed Snider enshrinement as well as coach Fred Shero, who will be inducted in November.

Allen thoroughly enjoyed his party, including the strawberry shortcake that was lit up for the Happy Birthday celebration, but the highlight of the party came when Allen sang some background vocals to Cannella’s version of “It Had to be You,” one of Allen’s favorite songs.

After the music, Allen posed for pictures with friends and family, and spent some time with Watson.

“It’s good to come out and see him whenever I can,” said Watson, who lives close by. “But today is a special day. I mean 90-years-old. Geez, that’s amazing.”

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
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10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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