PAT FIETTO WAS SITTING in his South Jersey home talking about his boys.
Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent, Bill Barber, Bob Kelly, and the rest of the Flyers who won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974-75.
Back then, Fietto was the owner of Rexy's, a blue-collar watering hole in Haddon Township that was the Flyers' second home.
"They started coming in when the team came to Philly in 1967," the 82-year-old Fietto said. "I used to cash their checks out of my pocket - $150, $200 - if they made $20,000 a year it was a lot.
Fietto, who sold the bar last July after a 66-year run, tells a great story about the first Stanley Cup championship.
"I was trying to bring the team back from the Spectrum to Rexy's," he said. "I called my brother at the bar and he said there was 8,000 people outside the place. People were standing on the roof since 'God Bless America.' I told him to close the place. A friend of mine owned a place [nearby] and we went there instead. But, it was a Sunday and the place was dead. Here, the guys had just won the Stanley Cup and we sat around like a bunch of mooks doing nothing."
Fietto has a rink full of Flyers memories, including the time Rexy's caught on fire and the players - in a display of mourning - wore black armbands during practice the next day.
"I got to be friends with all the guys," Fietto said. "They were a bunch of working-class kids from Canada. When they first came here, they didn't know anyone. So I steered them in the right direction. They didn't put on any airs. If they did, I straightened 'em out right away.
"Terry Crisp used to stand in the locker room and tell all of the new guys, 'If you need anything, go see Pat at Rexy's and he'll take care of you.' "
As for this year's crop of Bullies?
"I think it's a miracle team," Fietto said. "They're destined.
Still, Fietto said the Blackhawks are fast, and the Flyers may need to go old-school in order to win another Stanley Cup.
"We've got to kick the crap out of 'em," Fietto said.
- Tom Mahon
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