Top Players in Flyers’ History: No. 6 Ron Hextall

Ron Hextall may have very well been the best goalie in Flyers’ history if he had won the Stanley Cup.  I know that it is a stretch, but he was unbelievable, and easily the most unique goalie that ever played for the Flyers, maybe the most unique one in NHL history.

He was a late draft pick, 119th overall in 1982 by the Philadelphia Flyers, and immediately started to make an impact for this team.

He was quickly a fan-favorite in Philadelphia, as his aggressive play was something that Philadelphia fans not only love, but yearn for.  And when it is an NHL goalie that is fighting and making big hits, well, it makes the game that much more exciting.  He holds the NHL record for most penalty minutes in one season for a goaltender with 113 in the 1988-89 season.

His famous hit is when he knocked Chris Chelios hard into the boards in the 1989 season, and continued to beat the crap out of him until the refs sent him to the locker room.  He was then suspended for the first 12 games of the 1989-1990 NHL season.

He also became the first goalie in NHL history to score a goal by shooting it down the ice into an empty net.  You can see the goal at this link:

He was traded to the Quebec Nordiques in the trade that brought Eric Lindros to Philly, and then was traded from Quebec to the New York Islanders, but the Flyers eventually got him back, and he proceeded to take the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals in 1997.

He did indeed win the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1987 as the MVP of the playoffs, yet the Flyers did not win the Stanley Cup, and Hextall clearly showed that the MVP trophy did not mean anything if his team was only second-best.

Here is a list of Hextall’s awards and honors:

Dudley “Red” Garrett Memorial Award1986

Named to AHL First All-Star Team — 1986

NHL Rookie of the Month of November — 1986

Vezina Trophy1987

Conn Smythe Trophy1987

NHL All-Rookie Team — 1987

NHL First All-Star Team — 1987

Inducted into Flyers Hall of Fame – February 6, 2008

These are parts one and two to Hextall’s induction ceremony into the Flyers’ Hall of Fame during the 2008 season.  I watched this live, and it was a touching ceremony, where the fans showed how much they truly appreciated Hextall and all of his antics throughout his career in Philadelphia.

He is an unbelievable goaltender, and at least the second best one in Flyers’ history, which earns him this spot as number six on my list of top players in Flyers’ history.

This is the fifth part of a ten part series.  Stay tuned for the rest of the series!

Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and In addition to writing for Inside Hockey and Pro Hockey News , he has also worked for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him

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