ABOUT THE LEGENDARY CHAMPIONSHIP HOCKEY TEAM,
DEBUTS MAY 4 DURING THE STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
The HBO Sports documentary BROAD STREET BULLIES, a look at one of pro sport’s most polarizing teams, the legendary Philadelphia Flyers Stanley Cup championship squads of the 1970s, debuts TUESDAY, MAY 4 (10:00 p.m. ET/PT & 9:00 p.m. CT) during the Stanley Cup playoffs. This exclusive presentation tells the backstories of these engaging and colorful athletes, who won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975 with a bold, aggressive style that sparked controversy and criticism.
Other HBO playdates: May 4 (2:35 a.m.), 8 (11:00 a.m. ET only/10:30 a.m. PT only/3:20 a.m. PT only), 10 (8:30 a.m., 7:00 p.m.), 12 (noon), 20 (6:00 p.m., 4:20 a.m.), 23 (9:00 a.m., 11:00 p.m.) and 25 (8:00 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: May 13 (8:30 a.m., 10:00 p.m.), 15 (3:30 p.m.), 17 (4:00 p.m.), 26 (1:10 a.m.) and 30 (11:30 p.m.)
HBO On Demand availability: May 5-June 7
“This film explores how a group of characters, who also happened to be an extraordinarily talented collection of hockey players that enjoyed contact on the ice, formed one of the most prominent and controversial teams in pro sports history,” says Ross Greenburg, president, HBO Sports. “We are going to re-trace the steps that led to the love affair between the city and the team, and show how to this day these players are revered in Philadelphia and despised elsewhere.”
Playing before adoring fans at the Spectrum, the Philadelphia Flyers rose to prominence in the 1970s under the guidance of shrewd coach Freddie Shero. With larger-than-life figures like Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Bernie Parent, Ed Van Impe, Bill Clement, Rick MacLeish, “Moose” Dupont, Bob Kelly, Joe Watson and Gary Dornhoefer, the team won many games, fought in just about all of them and made numerous enemies. The club’s popularity soared as their physically imposing and sometimes bloody style generated headlines across North America.
Although the franchise did not exist until 1967, the team rose to national prominence in just a few short years, and some NHL teams would see their home attendance double when the Flyers came to town. The club became a favorite of other hardscrabble cities and towns where blue-collar communities were taking an economic beating.
In a bizarre twist, singer Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” became the Flyers’ good luck charm. Eventually, the team that showcased players with gap-toothed grins, funny hair and goofy nicknames evolved into one of the NHL’s elite franchise. In 1976, the Flyers engaged the vaunted Soviet Central Red Army team in the finale of an exhibition series that would do little to ease the cold war tension between the two nations.
BROAD STREET BULLIES interviews include former Flyers standouts Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Bill Clement, Gary Dornhoefer, Bob Kelly, Bernie Parent, Ed Van Impe, Don Saleksi, Orest Kindrachuk, Bobby Taylor, Joe Watson and Dave “The Hammer” Schultz; team founder and chairman Ed Snider; former NHL stars Phil Esposito, Terry O’Reilly and Larry Robinson; radio personalities Howard Eskin and Anthony Gargano; former NHL director of broadcasting Stu Hackel; journalists Jay Greenberg, Frank Orr, Jack Chevalier and Mark Mulvoy; Flyers historian Bruce Cooper; and former director of NHL officiating Bryan Lewis.
The executive producers of BROAD STREET BULLIES are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; senior producer is Joe Lavine; produced by George Roy; Erik Kesten is the writer; Brian Keane scored the music; Liev Schreiber is the narrator.
Highlights of BROAD STREET BULLIES:
The Flyers’ Bob Kelly, nicknamed “Machine Gun Kelly”: “I always had a lot of energy, so I like to expand it, and there’s nothing like driving somebody’s head through the boards to make you feel good.”
The Flyers’ Gary Dornhoefer on joining the Philadelphia expansion team: “First of all, I had to take a good look at a map to see where the heck Philadelphia was.”
Philadelphia Evening Bulletin writer Jay Greenberg on the team’s birth: “They had a reception at city hall for them, and they put them in open convertibles for a ride down Broad Street. There were no more than 20 people on the parade route.”
Flyers founder and chairman Ed Snider on the team’s growing pains: “We realized that we would have to become tougher, stronger and bigger. And we may not be able to win a lot of games as we’re growing but we certainly didn’t have to get beat up. So we decided that no team would ever intimidate us, ever again. And we conducted our drafts, and we conducted our philosophy in that direction.”
The Flyers’ Bill Clement: “When Schultzie [Dave “The Hammer” Schultz] got to the Flyers, it all changed. He became the hunter. We had the baddest animal in the hockey jungle. And never even had a fight before he turned pro.”
Sports Illustrated writer Mark Mulvoy: “It was all part of the game plan, it was all part of the strategy, which is to go out and just annihilate people, and by annihilating them, we’re going to render them ineffective, and that’s how we’re going to win. And it worked.”
The Flyers’ Bobby Taylor on goaltender Bernie Parent’s eccentricities: “He always had to have his nap in the afternoon with his German Shepherd dog. He loved to smell things. If you bought a new pair of shoes, oh my god, he was all over you. ‘Ah, I love the smell of new leather.’ I mean he had his nose in your shoes…what?”
Flyers goalie Bernie Parent: “I’m a firm believer in life that if you’re happy, happy things will happen to you.”
Philadelphia sports radio personality Howard Eskin: “These guys not only were fun, they were a part of the community. They were part of the people.”
Flyers historian Bruce Cooper on Flyers head coach Fred Shero: “Freddy was a mystery. He basically didn’t talk to the players. The way he communicated with them is he left little notes in their locker, wrote things on the blackboard.”
Radio personality Anthony Gargano: “That team personified the city so well. The little side streets of Philadelphia. All the kids on each street had their own team. Sure enough, there’d be a fight – two kids are going at it.”
Ed Snider on winning the Stanley Cup: “Who could have thought that a hockey team would draw over two million people to a parade?”
The Flyers’ Don Saleksi on Bobby Clarke, the heart and soul of the Bullies: “An ultimate warrior. He would leave it all out there. Every minute of every game.”
Former NHL director of broadcasting Stu Hackel: “Bobby Clarke was one of the most inspirational players ever. He’s also one of the filthiest players ever.”
Bill Clement: “We were just ultimate fighters without the cage around us.”
Former director of NHL officiating Bryan Lewis on the expanded NHL rulebook: “I can’t give the Philadelphia Flyers total credit for making the book be this thick versus what it used to be, but I can say this and guarantee it…they definitely played a part in some of it.”
Stu Hackel: “Every team would go out and try to find a couple of guys who’d stand up for their team against the Flyers. So this arms race began.”
Journalist Frank Orr: “To the purists they represented everything evil about the game. They were a disgrace.”
Flyer forward Bill Clement: “Our legacy now is exactly what it was then…loved in one part of the world, and hated everywhere else. And there isn’t an apologetic bone in my body or anybody else’s body on our team.”