Tyler J. Altemose
You hear the phrase “Flyers all-time greats” thrown out there from time to time, but what does it mean? What do we look for in a player to put him in that category?
Does it encompass statistical greatness? Is being on either the ’74 or ’75 championship team a requisite? Does it necessitate having a certain type of locker room presence? Or maybe it’s a combination thereof?
If you ask me, being a Flyers all-time great is fluid. There is no checklist, criteria, or requisites involved in determining who gets categorized as one of the greatest to ever don the Orange and Black. You just know them when you see them.
One of those all-time greats—and a personal favorite of mine—is Rod Brind’Amour.
Brind’Amour was drafted 9th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 1988 NHL Entry draft. After the 1990-91 season he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. He spent the next 9 seasons in the City of Brotherly Love before being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes.
As a member of the Hurricanes, Brind’Amour was under the tutelage of current Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette. Prior to the 2005-06 season he was named captain. He and Laviolette led the Hurricanes to their first Stanley Cup that year, sealing Brind’Amour’s position as one of hockey’s greats.
After the 2009-10 season, Rod announced his retirement from the NHL. He still works for the Carolina Hurricanes organization as the director of forwards development.
In 1,643 regular season and playoff games, Rod has 503 goals and 792 assists for a combined 1,295 points. His iron man streak of 484 consecutive games played remains a Flyers record.
Looking at Brind’Amour the player requires a look at the player off the ice. Rod was a tireless worker. To say that his training regiment was tireless, grueling, and exasperating wouldn’t do it justice.
That off-ice motivation and determination also carried over while Brind’Amour was on the ice. He was an incredible force and was also a remarkable leader. His drive and his dedication to the principle of playing “for the crest on the front, not the name on the back” were significant factors in his leadership capabilities—leadership capabilities which helped him lead the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals.
For his astounding accomplishments as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, his number 17 will be retired tonight in the rafters of the RBC Center in Raleigh. Appropriately enough, the ceremony will take place while the Flyers are in town.
I can think of no other way to honor the man who spent roughly an equal amount of time in both Philadelphia and Raleigh. And it’s comforting to know that while Rod appreciates what is being done for him by the Hurricanes, he hasn’t forgotten where he has come from.
“I loved my time in Philadelphia,” Brind’Amour said. “There are certain players that play in that city that really do well and love it, and I think I was one of them. I’ve said this many times—the day I got traded from Philadelphia was one of the worst days of my career. Up until that point I bled orange and black. It was an extremely tough time for me to leave that place because I loved it so much.”
We loved you too, Rod. We still do. Thank you for all you have done. You may have retired a Hurricane, but you’ll always be one of the Flyers all-time greats.