Dear Philadelphia Flyers, a.k.a. God’s Chosen Hockey Club:
You don’t know me, but I’ve known you. I grew in Pennsylvania and have bled orange and black all of my 45 years on this planet. Being honest, I still miss the Spectrum.
I live in Arkansas now, far away from real hockey, and sometimes think I’m the only person in my area who even knows that a “blue line” is more than a bunch of cops standing in a line waiting for their orders at Dunkin’ Donuts. For years, I wore my #88 Lindros jersey with pride because there’s nothing I like more than someone asking me “what team is that” so I can reply with a smile “the reason hockey was invented, the Philadelphia Flyers.”
Alas, that jersey that my parents surprised me with as a gift back in 1993 has now finally gone to the great Flyers jersey locker in the sky.
So when my network said to me “hey, you want to spend a week back home, let your kids see their grandparents, eat real sandwiches instead of the crap excuses for cheesesteaks they make in Arkansas and spend a week at hockey Mecca?” I said “um…yes, please.”
I’ll be honest. I was going there to do my job but I had an ulterior motive.
I wanted to get a new jersey so I could rep the Orange and Black all over Arkansas again.
But not just any jersey.
No, the jersey of the man whom to me is the greatest Flyers goalie ever. No, not Bernie Parent, although he is legend; I was too young to remember watching Bernie play.
Ron. Freaking. Hextall.
The main goal was to finally get a size 2X (which I think is a 52) jersey with Hextall and #27 on it. Something that when people would say “who the heck is that?” I can regale them whether they like it or not with tales of a true stone wall between the pipes.
Then I get to the Wells Fargo Center.
There’s no jerseys for sale anywhere.
Most of the Flyers stuff in the arena is covered up with things for the convention.
It almost made me cry.
I did comfort myself by spending time around the displays of hats from the various hat tricks over the years. I would see pictures of players and it gave me an excuse to annoy delegates from around the nation with stories about hockey instead of talking politics 24/7.
But there’s no Hextall jerseys. No Eric Desjardins. No Mark Recchi. No John LeClair. No Bobby Clarke. No Bernie Parent. No Bill Barber. No nobody.
You missed a golden opportunity, my beloved hockey heroes.
So with the last day pending as I write this, I implore you…be the Broad Street Bullies one more time and bust through security with a truckload of Flyers gear. Show these folks from Detroit and Chicago and Toronto and even weird places like San Jose what a REAL hockey team looks like.
Oh, and make sure there’s at least one size 2X Ron Hextall jersey.
And, you know, since he’s the current GM, if he wants to bring it personally and autograph it “to Jason, thanks for the undying fanship” I won’t argue at all.