Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addresses the crowd before the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Flyers fans don’t like Gary Bettman. After Friday night, it would be incredible if Gary Bettman still likes Flyers fans.
Each and every time the commissioner came to the podium at the 2014 NHL Draft, the sold out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center booed mercilessly, not letting up. Listen to Gary Bettman’s opening remarks, where Flyers fans boo his entire three minute speech:
It was loud on TV, but I was at the NHL Draft last night, and I honestly could not hear a word Bettman said. This continued the entire night. Actually, I don’t think I heard one word Bettman said at all. Flyers fans made it known that they don’t like Bettman. And I don’t think Bettman is looking to come back to Philadelphia any time soon.
Bettman wasn’t just the only one booed at the draft. In fact, things were rowdy before the event began. During roll call, Flyers fans yelled “sucks!” after each team was announced. For instance, Public announcer: “Detroit Red Wings.” Crowd: “Sucks!”
But the worst came for the Pittsburgh Penguins (surprisingly) when it was their turn at roll call. They were booed relentlessly by the fans.
Former Flyers player and analyst now Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet couldn’t even feel the love while he was making the Penguins selection. Funny how things change so suddenly.
The only cheers that came throughout the night had to do with the Flyers selection. They got the loudest ovation during roll call, as well as during their selection. A “Let’s Go Flyers” chant broke out for the entire three minutes prior to the pick. President Paul Holmgren thanked the Flyers fans, but then passed the torch to new General Manager Ron Hextall to make the pick.
Travis Sanheim, the Flyers pick, will certainly have draft day memories to last a lifetime with that reception.
The only team not to be booed by the Flyers fans were….the Carolina Hurricanes. Well, they were booed for a couple seconds, until fans realized former Flyer Rod Brind’ Amour was making the pick. The boos turned to cheers real quick.
All in all, the Draft was a success for Philadelphia. Flyers fans got to boo everyone they hate (which is basically everyone). But what was impressive is that no matter the team, none of the players selected were booed a la Donovan McNabb (football, I know, but best comparison). Every prospect selected was greeted with cheers, because Flyers fans know that they’re kids and it’s their special day. Though this will be the only time that happens…
Next up? Free agency. And that begins on Tuesday, July 1.