I close out every hockey game and every edition of SlapShot Radio with a simple phrase… “Good night and good hockey.” It’s a recognition and a salute to a man that passed away 20 years ago this past Sunday, the legendary first (and for me, only) Voice of the Philadelphia Flyers, Gene Hart. Hart closed out every hockey broadcast with that phrase.
I learned the game through Hart’s voice, listening on my clock radio as he described the action of a team that was so bad… then got better then grew from doormat to 2 time Stanley Cup Champion. I will never forget his call as we listened to the Flyers capture a championship in 1974… “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Flyers are going to win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers have won the Stanley Cup!”
Still gives me shivers 45 years later…
Gene Hart spent 29 years as the voice of the Flyers and is a well-deserved member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, he was inducted about two years before his death in 1999. A man’s voice that brought knowledge and enthusiasm as he taught the Delaware Valley about hockey, a voice that is indelibly burned into my consciousness.
I loved how he and his partner Don Earle began each period. They were a very un-traditional duo, both men could call play-by-play, so they switched up every period, starting the period with “Let’s go Flyers and let’s go Don Earle… why thank you Gene Hart and as we get the second period going…” Every period… it’s something that doesn’t happen much anymore.
His signature goal call… every time… every goal… “he shoots, he SCOOOOOOORES for a case of Tastykake.”
I always thought it was just an advertising thing until I talked to Terry Crisp about it… and he confirmed that indeed every Flyer who scored did get a case of Tastykake for each goal. Crispy managed to get 25 of ‘em while he played for the Flyers. He also commented how Flyer great Reggie Leach got over 300 cases over his career with Philly… that’s a LOT of Butterscotch Krimpets and Kandy Kakes.
It’s a broadcast experience that Pred Nation can identify with as we have been incredibly lucky to have the same kind of personality help Nashville learn the game. You could reasonable call Pete Weber the Gene Hart of Nashville… a comforting, accessible, consummate professional who's voice will always be associated with the team, now for a long, long time.
As a sports fan growing up in a city with all four major sports, the voices of Harry Kalas, Ritchie Ashburn, Bill Campbell, Merrill Reese and most especially, Gene Hart live on… through the internet, these voices can live on… Whenever I can, I turn down the national broadcast and try to sync up Merrill Reese when I sit down on Sunday to watch the Eagles… it’s a connection to my youth, and a connection back to these great broadcasters.
One of the special things about sports is the family connections. I’ve often thought of how appropriate and wonderful the continuity that the Flyers show in having Gene Hart’s daughter Lauren as their regular anthem singer.
It’s just right that a Hart is still part of the Flyers organization.
- You kinda knew this was coming, given the delay in releasing a cause of death… news reports are out calling Greg Johnson’s death a suicide. God bless his family… and please… please… keep an eye on your friends and family… and show that you will be there for them, to get them through the rough times and the good times.
- A group of Preds employees are finishing a week in Columbia as part of a Soles 4 Souls mission to distribute donated shoes and toys to over 500 children.
- Welcome back to the airwaves George Plaster… and his new cohosts are NHL.com writer Robby Stanley and former Vanderbilt head coach Watson Brown. Good to have George back on the air… SportsNight is on WSM 650 from 3p – 6p.
- The installation of the new videoboard at Bridgestone Arena is being well documented on social media… work is paused right now for a couple of concerts at Bridgestone Arena. The board is scheduled to be ready for the first preseason game on September 16th.
- Congratulations to Ron Francis who was named the first GM of the new Seattle NHL team.
- The Chicago Blackhawks unceremoniously dumped Artem Anisimov in a trade with Ottawa for Zack Smith.
- Congratulations to Ken Campbell for continuing his role a grumpy neighbor chasing the kids off his lawn. His latest criticizes Blues players for not respecting the Stanley Cup in their celebrations. Oh please… I’ve heard the stories of the strange/weird/questionable things that have happened with the cup over it’s long and storied history and believe me... a pet eating out of it doesn’t even hit the top 25… In the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka, "lighten up Francis!"
- J.T. Compher and the Av’s avoided arbitration… four years, $3.5 million.
- The Mitch Marner drama in Toronto continues to build… his agent said that the young star won’t report to camp without a deal. Offer sheet anyone? Anyone?
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