Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Flyers fight song resurfaces from 1940's
The Philadelphia Flyers are in the NHL's Final Four for the first time since 2004. Fan interest has reached a boiling point throughout the Delaware Valley. Orange and Black can be seen on cars, houses, bicycles, playing cards, scooters, skateboards, and even large trucks.
In the 1940's the Flyers were relatively unknown to most of the hockey world. They had begun play in 1939 as the Frankford Flexible Flyers. Budget restraints forced the team to use baseball bats instead of hockey sticks. Most of the team's players were dual athletes and played for the NFL's Frankford Yellow Jackets.
The Frankford Flexible Flyers were the last team in the league to play outdoors on a pond at the intersection of Frankford Ave and Pond Street. "If the weather was warm it made for some interesting hockey. There was one game that if you put all your weigh onto your skates the ice would crack," said Flexible Flyers goalie from 1942-43, Juan LaFrinieau.
The team was the last in the NHL to finally adopt ice skates in 1943. Prior to this the team wore metal golf spikes. "We would be running on the ice while the other team would be skating," said Jean Jean LaJeane, Flexible Flyers forwad from 1945-48.
LaJeane wrote the unofficial Flyers fight song in 1944 when he retired from the league. The song was originally rejected by most spectators and the pond organist Dominic LaBoreau. The lyrics were printed in Philadelphia Afternoon Post Gazette on Monday:
Soar Flyers Fly, on the Boulevard to triumph
Soar Flyers Fly, score a goal for Juan the goalie
Smack 'em under
Smack 'em above
And watch those Flyers soar
Soar Flyers soar, on the street to triumph