I recently had the opportunity to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada. I was excited to see the most famous artifacts and read the most interesting stories in the history of hockey. I also wanted to see how the Philadelphia Flyers would be represented in the Hall, as they are a historic and marquee franchise.
It’s the middle of August. Developmental camp is over, training camp hasn’t started yet, and there’s been no word on the Team Canada 2018 Juniors investigation. The hockey world is at a standstill (besides Oliver Bonk signing his entry-level contract and Matvei Michkov playing in KHL preseason games), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to talk about.
Here is your review of the Hockey Hall of Fame from the perspective of a Flyers fan.
This is the worst part of the entire experience. I hope you’re good with directions and maps because if you aren’t it’s almost impossible to find. The Hall-of-Fame entrance is located in the basement of a mall/office complex shoved in the corner right next to the food court. Yeah I know…great planning guys.
But once you find it you’ll know, as there are massive signs and mannequins with hockey equipment on all around the entrance.
Well now that you paid the $25 CAD to get into the Hockey Hall of Fame, you walk in and are immediately hit with the first piece of Flyers memorabilia.
Ah yes, who could forget Philadelphia Flyers great… Justin Bailey.
Alright, alright, it was just a box explaining the Stadium Series sweaters. We’ll move past that and go to the division cases which are right next to the Stadium Series box. The Flyers’ current representative in this display is none other than Carter Hart (who reportedly won’t be on the Flyers one way or another after the Team Canada report comes out.)
Okay fine, not a great start to the Hall for Flyers fans, but that’ll change quickly.
Ah, now we’re talking. Once you leave the entrance displays, you head to the center of the lower level of the Hall and see displays for some of the greatest players of all time, and the Lindros display is beautiful.
They really only talk about his time with the Flyer (as they should!) and have some pretty cool memorabilia as well. If you remember the Lindros era, you’ll love this display.
Bobby Clarke & Chris Pronger
Unlike Lindros, the third captain in Flyers history does NOT have his own case. Bobby Clarke is mentioned briefly, but only has his jersey hanging up under… Phil Esposito’s name, sure.
Well thats whatever, a lot of the older guys don’t have their own displays anymore. But another Flyers captain does have his own box, and that captain is Chris Pronger.
Oh…Pronger isn’t mentioned at all in relation to the Flyers except with the logo on the side saying he played there. That’s fine, it’s not like Pronger made it to the Stanley Cup Final with the Flyers and was named captain of the team or anything (I’m totally not mad, don’t say I got mad).
In any case, his display touches more on his time with the Blues and Ducks, which I understand. Those are the teams where he won a Hart Trophy, Norris Trophy, and a Stanley Cup, respectively.
Ok, ok, now that I’m still totally not mad about the Pronger box, let’s take a look at the specific team boxes.
These are usually pretty cool as they aren’t super historic but still usually have good memories. Maybe they’ll have something from the 2012 Penguins series, or maybe the 2019 Stadium Series game at the Linc, or something from the bubble playoffs where the Flyers clinched the 1 seed, or maybe even an artifact from the Flyers magical 2010 playoff run. Also it’ll be fun to see who the Hockey Hall of Fame chooses to be the Flyers’ display representative.
After walking past a bunch of other teams since it’s listed in alphabetical order, you finally get to the Flyers display. And well…uh…just look…
Well this is underwhelming. First of all, let’s talk about what you first see when you see the box. That’s right the number 2 player in Flyers history based on points per game Ryan Ellis (min. 4 games played).
Okay fine, he was a big name and a star for a while until his strange injury sadly derailed his career and made it hard for him to ever play hockey again. But the actual artifacts should be cool right?
What…the hell…is this…? JORDAN WEAL??? I mean, I get the Flyers haven’t had the greatest players over the past decade besides Claude Giroux and maybe Jake Voracek, but they couldn’t have gotten a better player than Jordan Weal? Okay, whatever.
When looking at the rest of the box nothing else jumps out. The Phantoms jersey they used was worn by Antero Niittymäki when they won the Calder Cup in 2004-2005. That’s pretty cool.
Mike Richards’ gloves from some point during the 2009-2010 season were in the case as well as Eric Lindros’ stick from the 2000 season which were pretty neat.
Not going to lie, I still can’t get over the picture being Ryan Ellis and the jersey being Jordan Weal, but the actual equipment saved the display.
There’s a whole wing filled with a lot of international hockey memorabilia, which was cool but nothing really involving the Flyers. They did, however, have the net, gloves, and stick from Sidney Crosby’s golden goal in the 2010 Olympics which brought back bad memories.
The Actual Hall
The Final room. You walk up a set of stairs and see sunlight for the first time all day. When you get up the stairs your breath is taken away. I didn’t take any pictures in this room, it just felt wrong.
All of the major trophies were encased around the room as the Hart, Selke, Norris, etc. were all there with plaques describing them and why each trophy is won.
The walls were filled with all the players, coaches, and executives that made the Hall, and it was interesting looking at who made it in and why.
And finally, the Stanley Cup: The Trophy of all Trophies. It is set up in the middle of the room (in the open I might add) and it’s glorious. Seeing the greatest trophy of all time is something you have to experience in person to really understand.
Look, if you’re a casual Flyers fan that’s not a huge hockey fan, you won’t like the Hall of Fame. Not a lot revolving around the Flyers and when there was it was all names most casual fans would not know. Now if you’re a HOCKEY fan, you should absolutely make this trip. It was one of the greatest experiences I have had and would absolutely go back again.
P.S. – You cant escape Gritty, even in a foreign country.
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