Bullies take a bow, 40 years later

Linesmen move in to break up fight between Philadelphia Flyers? Ed van Impe (2), and Boston Bruins? Wayne Cashman, in the second period of their NHL Championship Game, May 8, 1974, at Boston Garden. Bruins? Bobby Schmautz (17) holds off a Flyer. Boston won the game 3-2 to lead the championship series 1-0. (AP Photo/Peter Bregg)
Linesmen move in to break up fight between Philadelphia Flyers? Ed van Impe (2), and Boston Bruins? Wayne Cashman, in the second period of their NHL Championship Game, May 8, 1974, at Boston Garden. Bruins? Bobby Schmautz (17) holds off a Flyer. Boston won the game 3-2 to lead the championship series 1-0. (AP Photo/Peter Bregg) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Posted: January 29, 2014

Dave Schultz, the former Flyers enforcer aptly nicknamed "the Hammer", held out his left hand and displayed the ring on his finger.

"It's called Stanley Cups," he said.

That was the only explanation Schultz said he could offer as to why he and his former Flyers teammates remain so revered in Philadelphia. It has been 40 years since Schultz earned the 1974 championship ring.

The anniversary was honored Monday night at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association's dinner at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill.

Many of Schultz's teammates were in attendance, including Bill Barber, Bill Clement, Joe Watson and Bernie Parent. Fans waited in the hotel lobby for their autographs and asked to pose for pictures.

"The people love us," Schultz said. "And even those that weren't born. They Google us. Or they see us on the HBO special. This town has such a great phenomenal set of fans."

Barber said the city's fan base was attracted to the team's "ruggedness." And Barber said the players reaped the benefits.

"Nobody wanted to come to the Spectrum," said Barber, 61.

Drafted in 1972 by the Flyers, the left winger spent his entire 12-year NHL career in Philadelphia. He was the first coach of the minor-league Phantoms and spent one season as head coach of the Flyers.

"Coaching the Flyers was a great honor," Barber said. "They are memories for me that I won't forget. It was a great time." And like some of his other Broad Street Bullies teammates, Barber is still employed by the organization. He is a scouting consultant, which he said he does mostly from Florida.

"I'm winding down here," Barber said. "I'm an outside opinion, I'll sit in on a meeting every once in a while. But directly scouting and going game to game, that's not happening anymore."

The writers also honored Juniata Park's world boxing champion, Danny Garcia, as the Philadelphia pro athlete of the year and Eagles running back LeSean McCoy as the outstanding national pro athlete of the year.

Bernard Hopkins received a lifetime achievement award. Hopkins, the International Boxing Federation light-heavyweight champion, turned 49 earlier this month. He said he plans to fight again on March 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn against World Boxing Association champ Beibut Shumenov.

"I was in the gym today, I'll be in the gym tomorrow. I'm in the gym at least 80 or 90 percent of the time," Hopkins said. "I like feeling good and looking good."


mbreen@phillynews.com

@matt_breen

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