Back when the NHL had personality

Posted by under *mixed, Sports |

Lester "The Silver Fox" Patrick

The Flyers were huge in Philadelphia when I was growing up, and they’ve done a lot this year to put themselves back in the spotlight. Now that hockey has been on the brain for a while, I got to thinking about the last time in my life that I really payed attention to the sport.

The thing that came immediately to mind are the crazy set of divisions and conferences that the NHL was organized into throughout the 1980s. The Flyers have been part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference since 1993, but my memories of them are as part of the Patrick Division in the the Prince of Wales Conference. I’ll never forget having a certain fascination with where these names came from and what they meant. While the Adams, Norris, and Smythe Divisions and the Campbell Conference weren’t things I could immediately recall from memory, they have so much more charm than East, West and all points in between.

The other thing I recall trying to wrap my mind around were the teams from oddball cities, particularly ones without other sports teams like the Hartford Whalers, Winnipeg Jets, and Quebec Nordiques. Technically those teams still exist as the Carolina Hurricanes, Phoenix Coyotes, and Colorado Avalanche respectively, but those teams just seem so boring to me. Of course, there are still some weird franchises out there like the Columbus Bluejackets, San Jose Sharks, and Ottawa Senators, but they’re just not the same.

With expansion, relocation, and realignment to geographic divisions, I feel like some of the magic has been lost. The organization shouldn’t really affect the sport, but looking back, the archaic and inaccessible setup really created a mystique for the NHL. At least this year, the Stanley Cup Finals feature representatives of the James Norris Division in the Chicago Blackhawks along with the former Lester Patrick Division Philadelphia Flyers. A Flyers win might just be enough to keep me around even if the league is so easy to figure out these days.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

  • MissMichelle said,

    Hey! The Avalanche aren’t boring – I dare you to come out here and say that to my face!

  • ptb said,

    Please, they are so boring. You can’t possibly tell me that a Colorado Avalanche is more interesting that a Quebec Nordique. ¿¡¿What on Earth is a Nordique?!?

    I hear that name and I just have to know more.

    Also, while an actual avalanche is a fine thing to name something after, it’s one of those team names that leaves you unsure what to call their players. Is each one an Avalanche? Is each one merely an individual flow of snow that combine to form a complete Avalanche?

    It’s almost as bad as the Orlando Magic.

    Dwight Howard is a “Magic”

Join the Discussion