Top Players in Flyers’ History: No. 2 Bernie Parent


“Only the Lord saves more than Bernie Parent.”

This quote is known throughout Philadelphia and perhaps the hockey world—at least to anyone that followed hockey in the 1970s.  Bernie Parent was the greatest goalie that ever played for the Flyers, and one of the best of his time in the NHL.

Parent started his NHL career with the Boston Bruins, but was taken by the Flyers in the 1967 NHL Expansion draft.  After failing in his first stint with the Flyers, he was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs to play with his idol, Jacques Plante.  After learning greatly from the 42-year-old All Star, Parent joined the WHA.

He eventually decided to rejoin the NHL, but refused to play with the Leafs.  They traded his rights back to the Flyers, and the rest is history.

Parent dominated the NHL, winning two consecutive Vezina Trophies in 1974 and 1975.  He led the Flyers to their two best seasons, which both ended in Stanley Cup wins.  He took the Conn Smythe Trophy both seasons as the playoff MVP, and twice skated off the ice with Bobby Clarke and the Stanley Cup—two of the most prized possessions of the Flyers’ history.

Bernie dazzled the NHL and Philadelphia with his unbelievable play—his athletic ability, his mysterious mask, and his trademark kick save.

His career was ended, however, when a hockey stick hit him in the eye, and permanently damaged his vision.  This injury caused many goalies to use the modern cage helmet, as opposed to the fiberglass model that everyone had used.

His playing career may have been over, but he was not.  Bernie continued to influence the Flyers’ organization by being a goaltender coach to the team, and to this day makes many appearances as team alumni, both in public and in the Flyers’ home, the Wachovia Center.  He won a total of 232 games with the Flyers, which is still a team record.

When healthy, his save percentage went below .900 only once, and his goals-against average was 2.55 for his entire NHL career.  He had 55 shutouts throughout his illustrious tenure.

His accomplishments are numerous.  He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, was ranked number 63 in The Hockey News’ list of 100 greatest hockey players, was the third NHL goalie to ever appear on the cover of TIME magazine, and held the season record for wins for 33 years, before Martin Brodeur broke the record in 2007.

But Bernie’s influence over this city is enormous, and he will never be forgotten as long as the Flyers exist in the NHL. That is why he is number two on this list of top players in Flyers’ history.

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

Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com. 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 atBergHockey24@gmail.com .

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