Tuesday, February 2, 2010

1977-78 Philadelphia Flyers Gary Dornhoefer Jersey

Born on this date in 1943, Gary Dornhoefer played for both the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers during his 14 season NHL career.

Dornhoefer made his NHL debut with Boston in the 1963-64 season, getting into 32 games while scoring 22 points. Dornhoefer found it tough to crack the Bruins lineup though, as the number of games played each season with the Bruins declined to 20 games the next year, followed by just 10 games followed by none in 1966-67, as he spent the entire season playing for the Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League.

It's hard to imagine any player benefiting from the NHL expansion and 100% increase in NHL jobs more than Dornhoefer, who was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft, and would spend the remainder of his career with the Flyers.

Never one to be considered a flashy goal scorer, Dornhoefer was a perfect fit for the Flyers who valued his gritty style, all-out tenacity and ruggedness.

His first season in Philadelphia saw him score 43 points for the expansion Flyers and rack up 143 penalty minutes. That set the tone for what the Flyers could expect from Dornhoefer annually, as he regularly scored between 40 and 60 points and averaged 120 penalty minutes.

He did have one notable offensive season in 1972-73 when he hit the 30-goal plateau for the only time and scored 79 total points, 16 more than any other season of his career. The points did not affect his rugged play, as he totaled his second highest time in the penalty box of his career, with 168 minutes, behind only the 183 from the season before.

The most famous play of his career came in the 1973 playoffs in overtime of Game 5 against the Minnesota North Stars when he raced down the boards, eluding first Bill Goldsworthy and then Barry Gibbs as he cut in front of the net. He then pulled the puck from his forehand to his backhand as he moved past Gibbs before shooting the puck past goaltender Cesare Maniago just before Tom Reid could upend him.


Dornhoefer scoring his dramatic goal in the 1973 playoffs

The spectacular goal all but clinched the series for the Flyers giving them a 3-2 lead in games, a series they would go on to win 4-2 for the first playoff series win in team history.


“I don’t even know how I scored. I just remember getting the puck at center ice, and fortunately it stayed right with me. You could try that play again a hundred times and it wouldn’t work,” Dornhoefer recounted afterwards.

Dornhoefer's goal was immortalized as a statue outside the Flyers original arena, The Spectrum.


Dornhoefer's famous goal immortalized as a statue

The loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs the year before only increased the Flyers hunger and The Broad Street Bullies would take on the league with their elbows up, sticks high and fists flying, as they won the West Division with a league leading 1,750 penalty minutes, an average of over 22 minutes a game, 7 minutes more per game than the next closest team and 10 more per game than the league average of 12.

During the playoffs, the Flyers would eliminate the Atlanta Flames in the opening round 4-0, outlast the New York Rangers 4-3 and defeat the Boston Bruins 4-2 to become the first expansion team to capture the Stanley Cup.


Dornhoefer posing with the Stanley Cup while wearing the celebratory Stanley Cup champions patch, which was only worn by the team during the following preseason until the patch was removed at the player's request, as they feared it would provide motivation for their opponents

Dornhoefer and the Flyers would defend the cup again in 1975, repeating their same pattern as the year before by sweeping the Toronto Maple Leafs, outlasting the New York Islanders in seven and beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 for their second consecutive championship. During the regular season they would up their penalty minute total to 1,969 (an average of 24.6 per game) and again lead the league by a wide margin, nearly 700 minutes more than the next closest club.

After two more full seasons, injuries would begin to take it's toll, causing Dornhoefer to miss half of he 1977-78 season and retire following the playoffs that year. His final career totals were 787 games, 214 goals, 328 assists and 542 points. Additionally, he would score 36 points in 80 playoff games and win a pair of Stanley Cups.

Today's featured jersey is a 1977-78 Philadelphia Flyers Gary Dornhoefer jersey, as worn during the final season 0f his career.

This jersey features the #4 memorial patch for former Flyer Barry Ashbee, who was on the club the season they won the 1974 Stanley Cup, but saw his career end six games into the playoffs when he was struck in the eye by a puck.

Ashbee became an assistant coach with the Flyers for 1974-75, a season which saw the Flyers retire his number 4 and win another Stanley Cup. Ashbee was diagnosed with leukemia in April of 1977 and died a month later, leading to him being memorialized on the Flyers jerseys in 1977-78.


Today's video selections begin with a brief interview segment with Dornhoefer.


Here is a scrap between Dornhoefer and Brad Park, with the Flyers wearing their odd black names on a white nameplate on their orange jerseys, a look they have brought back with their current orange jerseys and again with their 2010 Winter Classic jerseys.


Finally, here is the call as the Flyers capture their first Stanley Cup.

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