A handful of Flyers fans have added yet another chapter to the long, troubled history of professional sports in Philadelphia.
It was supposed to be a night Flyers fans would honor the man who brought hockey to the city of Philadelphia. A night where the club Ed Snider founded would find some way to beat the best team in the NHL this season and bring a playoff win to South Philly for the first time in years.
Instead, April 18, 2016 will be remembered as a night when the sports fans of Philadelphia once again made jackasses of themselves on national television for all to see.
With the game already for all intents and purposes over, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare decided to take out some of his frustrations on Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov. It was a vicious hit that would result in Bellemare getting suspended for one game and a huge brawl breaking out in the third period.
Bellemare received a five-minute major and if you thought things couldn’t get any worse, you would be sadly mistaken.
Before the game, the Flyers handed out bracelets to all the fans at the game that would light up as part of the pre-game ceremony to honor Mr. Snider. So of course, once the game started to go downhill and the penalties were handed out, bracelets started being thrown onto the ice and one even hit Orlov in the head.
The fans were warned that is they didn’t stop throwing bracelets and trash on the ice, the Flyers would be assessed a penalty, which is exactly what happened. The Capitols would go on to score another goal on their way to a 6-1 rout.
Now to be clear, only about 100 or so bracelets ended up on the ice out of the almost 20,000 that were handed out, so it was a very small minority of fans that decided to act like idiots and make Philly look bad. And given this city and the reputation of its fans, maybe handing out an item that could be thrown at someone if the Flyers were losing wasn’t the best idea the organization ever had.
But what made the entire situation that much worse was that the handful of fans who acted like morons did it on the night the team was honoring Ed Snider.
Ed Snider. The man without whom there would be no Philadelphia Flyers in the first place. You would think that on this night, they could keep it classy and lose with some dignity. But of course this is Philly, so we all knew that wasn’t going to happen.
The day after the fiasco, the Flyers issued a statement (through Howard Eskin of all people) about what happened:
“Flyers fans are the best in sports. However, last night, a number of individuals behaved in an unacceptable manner. Fans have the right to voice their displeasure vocally or by not watching or attending games, but when displeasure is expressed in a way that embarrasses or endangers others, it cannot be condoned or tolerated.
As an organization and on behalf of the overwhelming majority of Flyers’ fans who express their passion in a positive manner, we wish to express our sincere regret.”
However, Mr. Snider’s daughter Sarena may have said it best on her Twitter account:
My dad would've called the wristband throwers a "disgrace" & may have spoken publicly. But he wouldn't look back, only forward. @NHLFlyers
— Sarena Snider (@SarenaSnider) April 19, 2016
More Flyers: Ed Snider Was Truly One Of Us
For as long as I can remember I have defended Philadelphia and its fans to all the haters and detractors. I have worn our reputation as a badge of honor and have even felt that maybe the Philadelphia fanbase has gone a bit soft over the years.
Then something like this happens and I am reminded exactly why the Philadelphia sports fan has earned the reputation that they have.
Throwing snowballs at Santa. Cheering Michael Irving getting hurt. Eagles Court at the Vet. Booing Donovan McNabb at the NFL Draft.
I guess you can now add throwing bracelets at the Washington Capitols to the list.