Legends of Hockey - Spotlight - Bernie Parent - The Pinnacle
Spotlight
One on One Treasure Chest Pinnacle

The Philadelphia Flyers finished first during the regular season in the NHL's Western Division Boston in 1973-74. The 'Broad Street Bullies' collected an astonishing 112 points. What was even more astonishing is that Boston, in the east, had earned one more.

Philadelphia tossed the Atlanta Flames in four straight games to climb one rung closer to the Stanley Cup. In the semi-finals, the Flyers faced the New York Rangers. Parent earned a shutout in Game 1, stoning New York 4-0. Game 2 was a 5-2 Flyers' win, although the Rangers rebounded with a 5-3 win in Game 3. New York stole Game 4 with a 2-1 overtime victory; a game in which Barry Ashbee was struck in the eye by a shot from the stick of Dale Rolfe. The accident ended Ashbee's career.

The Flyers came back with a 4-1 spanking in Game 5. Game 6 went to the Rangers with a 4-1 win. It all came down to the suspenseful Game 7. Back and forth it went, but Gary Dornhoefer's marker mid-way through the third earned Philadelphia the win and the series. It was on to the Stanley Cup!

The Broad Street Bullies met the Big Bad Bruins in the Stanley Cup final in 1974. Bobby Orr's late-game goal edged the Flyers and gave Boston Game 1 with a tight 3-2 win. The Flyers beat Boston by the same score in Game 2, with Bobby Clarke scoring at 12:01 of overtime.

The Flyers took Game 3 on a 4-1 win, then were victorious again in Game 4, winning 4-2. Game 5 went to the Bruins with a decisive 5-1 win in a fight-filled contest. Then, in Game 6, Rick MacLeish scored at 14:48 of the first. Parent slammed the door on Boston the rest of the way and Philadelphia skated away with a 1-0 win ... and the Stanley Cup!

"When time ran out, the Spectrum just exploded with noise," Bernie recalled. "So many people rushed onto the ice that we could just about move. Clarkie (Bobby Clarke) and I were supposed to carry the Cup around the ice but it was impossible. The dressing room was a madhouse with people and cameras. Players were hugging and slapping each other on the back. When I had the chance, I moved into the medical room. Clarkie, Ross Lonsberry and a couple other players were there too. We just had to get away from the people and microphones and be by ourselves."

The Stanley Cup victory was the first for the Philadelphia Flyers' franchise, and the first for any of the teams that joined the NHL with expansion in 1967-68. Bernie Parent, who had been so strong during the regular season, earning First Team All-Star accolades and the Vezina Trophy (tied with Tony Esposito of Chicago), was even more spectacular during the playoffs and was named recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable playoff performer.

"Usually the medical room was off-limits to the press but this was an exception," Parent continued. "I was lying on a trainer's table smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer. That's when I started talking about how winning the Cup felt."

Winning the Stanley Cup delivered on a dream Parent had first imagined as a child. "I remembered thinking about winning the Cup back in Montreal when I was five or six years old. I saw the Canadiens and Chicago play a game on TV until almost two o'clock in the morning. It was such a tremendous thing and I wondered what the feeling would be to play for the Cup."

Bernie now knew that feeling. He'd experience it again the next year, too, as the Philadelphia Flyers captured back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. "I thought about winning the Cup and I knew even a million dollars couldn't buy the feeling we had."

Kevin Shea is the Hockey Hall of Fame's Manager of Publishing and Editorial Services.