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An open letter to Dan Hilferty, Keith Jones, Danny Brière, and John Tortorella: Thank You

(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Dear Dan Hilferty, Keith Jones, Danny Brière, and John Tortorella,

It surely has been an interesting season for you guys. There was a lot that has happened this year that Flyers fans didn’t see coming at all.

  • The team was projected as a bottom 5 team only to play above their expected level almost all season
  • There was an early-season blockbuster trade involving a future cornerstone piece that derailed the rebuilding plan
  • The team’s starting goaltender got arrested for a sexual assault charge from a scandal that had gripped the hockey world for almost 3 years
  • The trade deadline saw one of the best players on the blue line this season shipped out
  • Then came a wave of injuries on defense that was the equivalent of the Titanic hitting the iceberg
  • While all these problems on defense were happening, a captain was named only for him to be healthy scratched less than a month later
  • Then out of nowhere, a player we never thought we’d see come over from Russia showed up
  • And all of this led to a late season collapse that Flyers fans should have seen coming

Even with all of the mess of this season, the four of you helped guide the Flyers franchise back in the right direction, even if the beginning of this turnaround was like Austin Powers trying to turn that cart around in a tight hallway.


When you took over as Governor of the Flyers in the middle of May in 2023, the city of Philadelphia was in the middle of a Sixers playoff collapse, the Phillies were struggling to get it going after losing in the World Series the season before, and the Eagles had just come off of a tight Super Bowl loss.

Vibes were at an all-time low in the city, but they might have been the lowest in our tight-knit hockey community.

After a decade of middling rosters that would either get bounced in the first round of the playoffs, or miss the playoffs all together, everything just reached a breaking point.

At every press conference between 2021 and 2023, Dave Scott and Chuck Fletcher seemed to be standing in front of a burning building telling us it actually wasn’t on fire. On game day or during open practices in Voorhees, Scott was invisible, seemingly not there or just disinterested on what was taking place.

The Flyers, an organization that would always pride itself on feeling like a family, not just in-house but with the fans as well, felt like a corporate hockey team with no connection between the front office, the players, and the fans. Fans felt like the front office just didn’t care.

This season, that feeling changed.

YOU brought the feeling of Ed Snider back into the franchise. All season you have been open and honest with the media, which the fans appreciated after years of tiptoeing around questions. When fans would visit the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, you would take time out of your day to meet with them, shake their hands, take pictures with them, and just talk hockey or whatever else with them; it didn’t feel like you were a corporate suit put there to run a team, but it felt like you were just another fan like the rest of us. It helped the fans connect with the team again.

Most importantly, the feeling in the locker room after wins returned. Seeing the front office go down and shake the players hands was something Flyers fans vividly remember about the Ed Snider Flyers. Not only did the fans feel connected to the team again, but I’m sure the players felt appreciated too (especially after the former Governor called players by their wrong names in press conferences).

You brought the feeling the Flyers should have back, even in a season that was classified as the beginning of a “rebuild.”

Thank You.

Keith and Danny,

When you two were announced as the new look front office for our “New Era of Orange”, a lot of fans didn’t buy in. There were still too many problems from the previous three year period that needed fixing. Multiple albatross contracts, limited draft picks due to failed trades, reports of a fractured locker room, lack of effort for a full 60 minutes each game, and a depleted farm system was just the surface of the things that needed fixing.

Chuck Fletcher signed contract after contract and made trade after trade to try to fix the problem he created. The 2023 trade deadline was the last straw. The team had multiple players on expiring contracts while being out of a playoff spot. Many of these players would have been good pieces for contending teams. Fletcher made ONE trade.

At this point, the fans had absolutely lost interest. The dam burst and it didn’t look like it could be fixed anytime soon.

The fallout from the bursting dam could be felt throughout the organization. Fletcher was relieved of his duties and the Flyers seemed to have no direction or identity.

The team was in full dysfunction. Not only was the front office a mess to the outside eye, but the team construction was the main problem that you two were put in charge of fixing.

But you changed everything.

First, you used the word that Fletcher refused to use: Rebuild. After that, everything else started to fall into place.

Instead of telling us “trades are hard to make,” you made multiple trades before the draft that showed us you were actually committed to fixing this problem. You maximized value on players and didn’t give extensions just to give extensions.

You also had us realizing a front office can work without leaks to the media. The Ivan Provorov trade, the Cutter Gauthier trade, and the Matvei Michkov pre-draft meeting in Voorhees never coming to light before actually happening showed us your commitment to running a tight ship.

What really has done it though is the openness with the fans on the team’s identity and direction. In a season that has had so many different things happen, for better or for worse, you were right there to tell us exactly what the truth was right away.

You came out mid-game during one of the biggest hockey related stories this season and told us exactly why Cutter Gauthier was traded away after dominating the World Juniors.

You navigated the Carter Hart situation perfectly. There was not any overstepping on legal conversations, but at the same time you telling us what was happening to the level you did was all class.

With the trade deadline, continuing to stick to the rebuilding plan in a season that seemed prime for the Flyers to make a push for the playoffs by trading away probably the best defenseman on the team at the time was ballsy, but you stayed committed and did what was best for the future of the team.

The connections you made and the way the Flyers are respected again are a big part because of you two and your commitment to fixing this franchise.

Thank You.


You were here for the end of the dark times. You were able to see firsthand what was going on in the franchise, and were not blunt about what was going on.

The 97.5 interview from the end of the 2022-2023 season was exactly the right way to start this rebuild. “I think there was a ton of entitlement hanging around in our locker room, where really quite honestly you didn’t deserve that entitlement, you didn’t deserve that stature,” and “We’re pretty much nonexistent in the National Hockey League as far as respect. We need to earn the league’s respect,” were some strong words from you at the time.

You then went out and backed those words up.

For the first time since before the pandemic, the Flyers were fun to watch. Even with no expectations going into the season, you had the team bought in to the belief that working your ass off for 60+ minutes a game would result in victories. It worked.

On top of getting the team to buy in to playing a full game for the first time in years, a big part of a rebuild is developing young prospects into NHL players. The way to do that is not just giving young guys a roster spot and playing them with no competition. Having prospects learn at a young age that nothing will just be handed to you in the league is more valuable than the experience they’ll get playing one regular season game against a random team.

You helped develop Morgan Frost to another level this season, where his 2C potential finally showed in more than just quick bursts. Cam York took another step forward this year under your teaching and turned into a steady 2/3D with more room to improve in the future. Tyson Foerster is looking like Mark Stone-lite in his rookie season, shutting down opposing players while ranking third among rookies for goals with 20 because of you.

Not only did you keep the young kids accountable, you held EVERYONE accountable all year. You healthy scratched your captain in the middle of a slew of games against playoff-caliber teams. They went out and went 2-0-1 in their next three games. You sat one of your favorite players you’ve coached in multiple places for a majority of the second half and didn’t hesitate to do so. Keeping everyone accountable made the team realize no one was bigger than someone else, which played a huge part into the success this season.

You had the team playing meaningful hockey at the end of the season.

Even though the team probably won’t make the playoffs, you gave the players the chance to play meaningful games, getting them ready for years to come. Not being checked out by January/February is huge for the team development. Being part of a playoff push was fun again, even if it’s not ending the way we all hoped. Letting us see there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is far away, was reassuring after the mess that was endured over the past three years.

You help changed the culture.

Eliminating the entitlement and gaining the respect of the league again was a tough task this season. The only way to eliminate that entitlement was to make the players fight for a job each night. You did that. The only way to earn the respect of the league back was to try to win every game possible. You did that as well. The roster wasn’t the only thing that needed to be rebuilt, the culture in the Flyers organization needed to change, and you were at the front of that charge.

Thank You.

Dan, Keith, Danny, John,

This season is not what we expected, but it was a step in the right direction.

Thank You for navigating this Reality TV Show of a season so well.
Thank You for staying true to the plan of a rebuild even in a season where fans’ expectations changed.
Thank You for gaining the respect of the other NHL franchises again.
Thank You for teaching the new wave of Flyers players what it truly means to be a Flyer.
Thank You for being open and honest with the fanbase even in difficult situations.
Thank You for bringing the family feel back to the franchise.
Thank You for making hockey in Philadelphia fun again.

Thank You for giving the fanbase a reason to believe in the Flyers again.

Thank You.



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