To those of us who grew up attending hockey games at the Spectrum, we know it’s more than an arena.
It’s the place where we were introduced to the sport, the place where we created memories while watching games alongside our dads, the place where we watched an amazing, blue-collar group of players become the first NHL expansion team to ever win the Stanley Cup.
So give Flyers chairman Ed Snider and his staff credit for not allowing the Spectrum to go quietly.
The Flyers, of course, play down the street at the Wachovia Center, but they will play two preseason games at the Spectrum _ which will be demolished in 2009 to make room for a much-needed entertainment complex that will include restaurants, bars and retail stores _ and will give fans a chance to pay homage to the wonderful building.
The Spectrum doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Wachovia Center, but it’s more intimate and the seats are all closer to the action. For those of us who went there during our younger years, the place just feels like home.
The Flyers will play Carolina in a preseason game at the Spectrum on Sept. 27; they will face the AHL Phantoms in the building on Oct. 7. There will be all kinds of festivities _ all the teams’ captains and players from the two Stanley Cups champs have been invited back _ and it will feel just like old times. There is even talk of bringing back the orange jerseys the club wore many moons ago.
The Phillies did things right when Veterans Stadium was closed in 2003. In a moving ceremony that was orchestrated by public-relations genius Larry Shenk, numerous players from each Vet season returned, and Tug McGraw, Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt recreated their trademarks pitches or swings; Paul Owens returned to the field for one final curtain call, and it was one of the best farewells ever given to any ballpark.
It sounds like the Flyers have similar intentions.