Philadelphia Flyers

One of the most prestigious teams to come out of the NHL comes from the city of the Declaration of Independence and Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Philadelphia Flyers are a professional ice hockey team based in Philadelphia. They are members of the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). Part of the 1967 NHL Expansion, the Flyers were the first expansion team in the post–Original Six era to win the Stanley Cup, victorious in 1973–74 and again in 1974–75. The Flyers have played their home games on Broad Street since their inception, first at the Spectrum from 1967 until 1996, and then at the Wells Fargo Center from 1996 to the present.

The Flyers' all-time points percentage of 57.6% (as of the 2017–18 NHL season) is the second-best in the NHL, behind only the Montreal Canadiens' 58.8%. Additionally, the Flyers have the most appearances in the conference finals of all 24 expansion teams (16 appearances, winning 8), and they are second behind the St. Louis Blues for the most playoff appearances out of all expansion teams (39 out of 50 seasons).

Philadelphia is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Prior to 1967, Philadelphia had only iced a team in the NHL in the 1930–31 season, when the financially struggling Pittsburgh Pirates relocated in 1930 as the Philadelphia Quakers, playing at The Arena at 46th and Market Streets. The club, garbed in orange and black like the Flyers, was coached by J. Cooper Smeaton, who was to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame 30 years later, for his far more notable role as an NHL referee. Among the young Quakers' skaters in 1930–31 was another future Hall of Famer in 19-year-old rookie center Syd Howe. The Quakers' only "claim to fame" was to establish a single season NHL record for futility which has stood ever since, by compiling a dismal record of 4–36–4, still the fewest games ever won in a season by an NHL club. The Quakers quietly suspended operations after that single dreadful campaign to again leave the Can-Am League's Philadelphia Arrows as Philadelphia's lone hockey team. The Quakers' dormant NHL franchise was finally canceled by the League in 1936.)

It was during the 1972–73 season that the Flyers shed the mediocre expansion team label and became the intimidating Broad Street Bullies, a nickname coined by Jack Chevalier and Pete Cafone of the Philadelphia Bulletin on January 3, 1973 after a 3–1 brawling victory over the Atlanta Flames that led Chevalier to write in his game account, "The image of the fightin' Flyers spreading gradually around the NHL, and people are dreaming up wild nicknames. They're the Mean Machine, the Bullies of Broad Street and Freddy's Philistines.

The Flyers began the 1979–80 season with a somewhat controversial move by naming Bobby Clarke a playing assistant coach and giving the captaincy to Mel Bridgman. While Clarke was against this initially, he accepted his new role. The Flyers went undefeated for a North American professional sports record 35-straight games (25–0–10), before losing 7–1 to the Minnesota North Stars, a record that still stands to this day. The streak started after the team was 1–1 on October 14, and ended on January 7, 1980. In doing so, the Flyers wrapped up the Patrick Division title with 14 games to spare and the first overall seed in the playoffs. Their regular-season success continued into the playoffs, as the Flyers swept a young Wayne Gretzky and his Edmonton Oilers in the first round, then went on to get revenge against Fred "The Fog" Shero and his Rangers by beating them in five before disposing of Minnesota in five to lock up a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals.

What does the Flyers 2018-19 chances look at the upcoming season? When evaluating a team’s offseason, there’s a simple two-fold criteria — who did the organization add and who did it lose, and is the franchise better off moving forward? In the signing of James van Riemsdyk, the Flyers clearly improved by adding a power forward at a very reasonable contract (five years, $35 million). Additionally, the Flyers didn’t lose an indispensable player that can’t be replaced internally. Valtteri Filppula joined the Islanders and Brandon Manning is now part of the Blackhawks' organization.

GM Ron Hextall locked up his restricted free agents and the Flyers can go into training camp with a 23-man roster and $10 million in cap space that will be needed as Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny and Wayne Simmonds are all looming free agents. The JVR signing alone should have placed the Flyers in the top 10 of the NHL’s most improved teams this offseason and for the first time since Hextall took over as GM in 2014, there’s an expectation that the Flyers can not only reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season but also advance past the first round for the first time since 2012.

For the 2016–17 season, the Flyers retired their Winter Classic third jerseys in favor of a commemorative 50th-anniversary jersey. The uniform is white with orange and black striping, along with gold numbers, black nameplate with white lettering bordered in gold, and the classic Flyers logo with gold borders. The franchise's founding season is inscribed on the neckline. The Flyers wore a black uniform for the 2017 NHL Stadium Series, featuring enlarged black numbers with white trim, orange striping on the sleeves and tail, and orange nameplate with black lettering.

On December 11, 1969, the Flyers introduced what became one of the team's best-known traditions: playing a recording of Kate Smith singing "God Bless America" instead of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before important games. The perception was that the team was more successful on these occasions, so the tradition grew.