The Philadelphia Flyers organization gets criticized often these days for “living in the past” and over-celebrating the heroes of the 1975 and 1976 teams that brought Philadelphia its only Stanley Cup victories throughout its 46-year history.
One man that is often forgotten or left out when discussing the likes of Bobby Clarke and Bernie Parent is Fred Shero, the head coach of the two Cup-winning Flyers teams. After decades of being ignored by the Hockey Hall of Fame in spite of his many contributions to the NHL and the sport of hockey, the organization announced today that Shero will finally be inducted into the hallowed Hall.
Shero will be entered along with former players Chris Chelios, Brendan Shanahan, and Scott Niedermayer, as well as Canadian Women’s Gold Medalist Geraldine Healey.
Nobody seems to have an answer for why Shero, who passed away in 1990, had been snubbed for so long. It has been rumored that some members of the Hall hated the way that Shero’s Flyers changed hockey into a more physical, bruising sport and held a grudge ever since.
Shero’s contributions extend beyond that of the first coach of an expansion era team to win the Cup, though. He was the first to utilize assistant coaches during games, the first to implement morning skates before games, and the first NHL coach to review how Russian teams played to incorporate aspects of their systems into his coaching.
Shero will be inducted under the “builder” category. A “builder” is defined as “a person who has contributed to the development of the game of hockey, and as the name refers, one who has built the game forward.” Ninety-eight men have been inducted under this category before Shero, including the first coach and later general manager of the Broad Street Bullies, Keith Allen, and Ed Snider.
As important as it is for the Philadelphia Flyers to continue adapting and moving forward in today’s NHL, it is a truly great moment for the team and its fans to celebrate one of the most influential men in its history.