Philadelphia Flyers and Spectrum Ice Crew ID Card From Stanley Cup Seasons (1974)


Flyers/Spectrum Ice Crew ID card with operations director, Colonel Frank Herbert's authorization signature, my name and the year. courtesy: roger barone archives

Flyers/Spectrum Ice Crew ID card with operations director, Colonel Francis Herbert’s, signature, my name and the year. courtesy: roger barone archives 1973-1974

ROGER BARONE/FLYERS’ ICE CREW ID CARD: SPECTRUM ARENA (1974)

From October ’73, until May ’78, I was a member of The Spectrum’s Ice Crew. Our job was to service the ice and  nets during Flyers’ games.  Six men were assigned to the crew. It was a prestigious plumb awarded to the most reliable workers. More often than not, I managed the Flyers’ net, located on the west end, near section Z. It was exciting; it was fun.

Before the games and between periods, we removed the nets so the Zamboni could resurface the ice with a thin coating of water. The ice became very slippery and walking was difficult– embarrassing if you fell. Walking past the  fans was fun, as they leaned over the glass, screaming for pucks, sticks and autographs.  In addition to the nets,  we were  responsible for clearing debris from the ice  after  hat tricks and bad calls, replacing the herculite glass when a stick or puck hit the side of it and shattered it and fixing torn nets.  On several occasions we’d have to grab our ice picks and shovels to scrape the blood that had frozen into the surface after a brawl. Most notably, the night when Dave Schultz pummeled Dale Rolfe of the New York Ranges. None of his teammates came to his aid, and for all practical purposes, the Rangers gave away the series on that night; they lost their heart.

When the Flyers’ pre-game skating sessions ended, I would gather the  loose pucks, place them in my bucket and bring them  to the Flyers’ bench where Flyers’  backup goalie, Bob Taylor, was usually sitting. Taylor was one of the friendliest and funniest of all the athletes I’ve ever met. When I’d walk past him in my official “game” uniform (white pants, shirt, and cap with a Flyers’ logo) , he’d call out, “Hey, Ice Cream Man, I’ll have a vanilla.” Taylor was an extraordinary human being.  On most occasions, I gave the extra pucks to the fans, hanging over the glass, screaming at me. I usually gave them to kids, or the quiet and polite people  often neglected. When I had the time, I’d walk up to the third level and surprise someone with a rare souvenir: a puck in  the third level!

On one occasion, a young child startled me, when he held out a pen and white piece of paper, gesturing for my signature. He wanted my autograph! I was embarrassed, flushed face , tongue-tied. I looked up to his dad, standing  behind him.

“I’m not anybody.”

“It’s ok,  please sign it for him,” he politely said, cognizant of my embarrassment. I, then, trotted across the ice to the Flyers’ bench, where a bucket of game pucks were being iced (game pucks are kept frozen).  Game pucks were white on one side with a black Flyers’ logo on it. Practice pucks were all black with an orange logo on one side. I gave him a puck. He smiled  widely as did his father. I felt redemption, and would always remember the first non-graduation event autograph I’ve ever signed.

Other notable games that I’ve worked included the Stanley Cup championship series against the Boston Bruins; the Rangers game where Dale Rolfe was ferociously beaten up by Dave Shultz right in front of the glass where I was standing. We had to scrape blood from the ice after it ended.

I helped roll out the carpet for Kate Smith when she sang God Bless America before the Flyers’ cup-clinching game. I was standing on the ice as Phil Esposito skated  toward Ms Smith, extending his arms as he presented her with a bouquet of roses. Moments later, linesman, John D’Amico discovered a hole in the visiting team’s net; the tunnel-side, near section M. The game was being delayed. I cramped down inside the net. holding several pieces  of spare  jute twine about six inches in length.

I twisted and tugged, and knotted the twine, closing the the hole. D’Amico stood above me the whole time screaming, “Hurry, Hurry … fix that fuckin’ net; the game’s beginning.” Gil Gilbert, skated back and forth within the crease, scraping the ice surface. The wayward ice and snow shooting up at me, spraying my  pants and shirt. I was kneeling right behind him Gilbert. Sharpened skate blades, white  Bruins’ jersey, black socks with gold trim, Spectrum snow and a clunky big wooden goalie stick–just inches away, an image to last a lifetime.

I was working the night Dave Schultz scored his first hat trick against the Rangers. He skated over to me  and asked for the Shultz’ army helmet that I had just picked up off the surface of the ice. When the Flyers won the cup. I felt like a proud member of the team, wearing my white ice crew uniform the rest of the day as cheering fans shook my hands and cheered us on.

 

 

Advertisements

~ by photosfromphilly on April 20, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: