When one thinks of the Philadelphia Flyers, their style, their history, their leader, the first name that arises is Bobby Clarke.
He was diagnosed as a diabetic at age 15, and several NHL teams passed on him at the draft. A second round draft pick (17th overall) of the Flyers in 1969, Clarke made an immediate impact by turning a struggling franchise into a serious contender for the Stanley Cup. Clarke was not the world’s fastest skater, nor did he possess the blistering shot, but there is one thing he always brought to the rink - a burning desire to play and succeed. He not only demanded this from himself, but his teammates as well.
Before Bobby Clarke was drafted by the Flyers, the town of Flin Flon was a foreign word to the people of Philadelphia. This is where Clarke developed his hockey skills and strong character. Practising as many as three times a day under coach Patty Ginnell, he developed his skills to become the WCHL scoring champion with the Flin Flon Bombers. He accumulated 168 points in his last year as a junior.
Clarke’s 15 year career in the NHL was exceptional. In 1,144 games played, he accumulated 358 goals and 852 assists for 1,210 points. He was selected a first team all-star in 1974-75 and 1975-76, and won the Hart Trophy as the League’s Most Valuable Player in 1972-73, 1974-75, and 1975-76. He also won the Bill Masterson Trophy in 1972 for his perseverence and dedication to the game. The highlights of Bobby Clarke’s career were two Stanley Cup victories he led the Flyers to in 1973-74 and 1974-75, as he scored the crucial overtime goal in the second game of the 1974 finals against the Boston Bruins.
Clarke also competed internationally, representing Canada in the brilliant 1972 Canada-Russia series and the 1976 Canada Cup. The Flyers all time leading scorer ended his playing career in 1984 to become vice-president and general manager of the team.
b. August 13, 1949