Today’s TBT sports blog remembers my favorite hockey player of all-time – Bobby Clarke – who once starred for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Seems like only yesterday that Clarke was skating effortlessly up and down the old Spectrum Arena ice in Philadelphia in his orange, black and white #16 Flyers jersey.
Now, long since retired and 66 years-old, this Flin Flon, Manitoba native became a three-time NHL Most Valuable Player and skated his way into the hearts of hockey fans everywhere.
That’s because Bobby Clarke personified old-school hockey. He played without a helmet and hit about as hard as any player who ever took the ice. The Flyers captain was easily recognizable by his wide, toothless smile, long curly blond hair and incredible skill on skates.
The 17th pick of the 1969 NHL Draft, Clarke played his entire career for the Flyers franchise. Even after retiring, Clarke continued with the organization for many years first as General Manager and most recently as a Senior Vice President. He’s still Philadelphia’s greatest player ever, holding team records in total points and games played. He also appeared in eight NHL All-Star games.
As the Flyers captain, Clarke excelled during the 1970s. In both 1974 and 1975, he led the notorious Broad Street Bullies to back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships.
Known for winning face-offs and for relentlessly checking opponents, Clarke also teamed with Reggie Leach and Bill Barber to form one of the best lines in hockey history. The Flyers’ LCB Line scored 141 goals in the 1975 – 1976 season and was instrumental in the Flyers’ championship seasons the two previous years.
Clarke also distinguished himself individually. The NHL awarded him the Hart Trophy three times as the league’s Most Valuable Player.
This 1987 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee’s greatest accomplishment may be the fact that he brilliantly played the rough and tumble sport for 15 years.
A diabetic, Clarke suffered several serious seizures early in his career. He was also prone to exhaustion and infection. The NHL feared that it wouldn’t be safe for him to play in the league.
But, #16 showed his resilience and proved the league wrong. Bobby Clarke strictly followed a diet to manage his diabetes and played brilliantly for a championship franchise during his lengthy NHL career.
That’s why this fearless Philadelphia Flyer also checks in at #9 in Favorite Flyers in Sports available for 99 cents on Amazon.
Safely download Favorite Flyers in Sports from Amazon.
Read about former Philadelphia Flyers captain Bobby Clarke as well as basketball high flyers Vince Carter and Herman “The Helicopter” Knowings, track star Jesse “The Buckeye Bullet” Owens, the sports world’s iconic Goodyear Blimp and many more.
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!