The Philadelphia Flyers have a rich history of success and one of the players that was a key contributor to their on ice triumphs was left winger Bill Barber. As part of the famed LCB (Leach, Clarke, and Barber) line, Barber helped lead the Flyers to the franchise’s two Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.
Recently, we sat down with the Flyers legend and reflected on his playing career.
STS: You had a great career with the Philadelphia Flyers, when looking back on your career, what memories are most special to you?
Barber: “It would have to be the Stanley Cup runs we had. Any time you win major championships it is something special and even more after you stop playing and have time to look back at what you and your teammates we able to accomplish.
Also, I have to take into consideration that we made it to the Stanley Cup Finals three years in a row. And of course there is the 1979-80 team, that I was a part of that had went on an amazing streak of 35 games without a loss. Any time you have success during your playing career, those are definitely the things that stand out the best in your mind.”
STS: Which NHL team would you consider your biggest rival during your playing days?
Barber: “Oh, we had a few teams back then that were tough to play against. The New York Rangers would have to be right up there. We always had a battle with them. Honestly, all of the Original Six teams would give us a fight. It would be hard to narrow it down to just one. It was always quite an adventure and a lot of fun taking the ice during this era.”
STS: The old arenas in the NHL were full of many great moments on the ice, can you share some of your fondest memories from the Spectrum in Philadelphia?
Barber: Most certainly from both my playing years, to later coaching inside the Spectrum with the Flyers American Hockey League affiliate the Phantoms, I have quite a few. With the Phantoms, we won a championship inside that building back in 1998.
That particular season was a special one, and the crowds were great, as the attendance for our games was really phenomenal. Looking back at my playing days, it was a great time to be a player, just being able to have the opportunity to lace up your skates at the Forum in Montreal, the noise of the fans at Chicago Stadium, and I can’t leave out Maple Leaf Gardens, either.”
STS: How was the adjustment for you from being an NHL All-Star to moving into roles as both a scout and a head coach?
Barber: “Not too bad at all. I got involved in coaching back in the 1984-1985 season when I coached the last 14 games in Hershey. I was appreciative to the Flyers organization for being gracious enough to keep me on board in some capacity and allowing me to be a part of the team for 30 years. There were some hiccups and bumps along the way, but I honestly have no regrets at all.”
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STS: The Flyers were a franchise that had a visionary for an owner with Mr. Ed Snider for many years, what were your experiences with him?
Barber: “I can’t speak highly enough of Mr. Snider. He was a family man, a true gentleman that truly loved his team and players. He gave us every opportunity to be successful and the best we could be.
On the family side, he was helpful with all areas with our kids. I miss the man dearly. When I think about him, he was the Flyers.”
STS: In closing, do you have a funny Bobby Clarke story that is stored away and not well known, that you could share with me?
Barber: “(Laughs) Some I could share and others not to be put in print. (Continues laughing) I wouldn’t know where to start. Honestly, he was a great teammate and to this day I still consider him a friend.”