Distinguished in his white hair and matching goatee, Bernie Parent, who had an iconic career as a Flyers championship goalie, reminisced before receiving the No. 1 banner - his banner, his number - that had hung proudly in the Spectrum.
Kidding with reporters that the morning of his 1-0 Stanley Cup-clinching win over Boston in 1974 was so long ago that he "had breakfast with Moses," Parent talked about what it meant to receive the banner before the Flyers faced San Jose on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center.
"It's with a little mixed feelings," said Parent, who does community-relations work for the Flyers and is collaborating on a book that focuses on his life outside of hockey. "It's a reward, but at the same time, it's almost like you're moving on to the next phase. It's nice. This will probably be the last time you get on the ice and wave to the people who supported you, so it's a beautiful thing. It brings back a lot of good memories."
Like winning consecutive Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975. Like being inducted into hockey's Hall of Fame in 1984. Like the fans' "Bernie" chants - which echoed around the building as he was introduced on Wednesday - after one of his big saves.
"I've always said that the people, through the journey we went through, have been very supportive," Parent said. "We've won two Stanley Cups in, what, 40 years. It's not like we've won every year. And they've been supporting us all the time and it's nice to be back with them."
Added Parent, who lives on a boat in Wildwood in the summer and resides in Cherry Hill in the winter: "Let's face it - out of sight, out of mind. The Flyers, starting with [chairman Ed] Snider, have done a great job as far as keeping us alive in front of the public as the years go by. It's been 30-some years. Three different generations came along, and yet, 10-year-old kids ask: 'Can I have your autograph?' When you look at this, you say it's got to come from their parents, and the tradition goes on. It's just a beautiful thing."
Parent, 65, was forced to retire in 1979 after suffering an eye injury. He will soon release a book, My Journey Through Fear and Risk.
"I have a writer, and it's not about hockey as much as helping you to overcome the ups and downs of life," he said. "I think it's going to be beneficial to a lot of people. When you hit a slump [or] the valley - a slump is worse than a valley. Sometimes, it can bring your greatest victory because then it pushes you to go in different directions and do different things."
The colorful Parent, looking tan and trim, said he especially enjoys living on a boat during the warm months.
"I consider myself the wolf. Not a dog, but a wolf," he explained. "If you look back at the dog, you make the comparison - the dog is well-fed, stays warm in a house, has a lot of friends. But he's always on a leash, or inside a fence.
"Then you look at the wolf. You get the freedom, baby. You starve a few times, but it's worth it."
Parent gave high marks to Sergei Bobrovsky, the Flyers' rookie goalie.
"He reminds me of Bobby Taylor," he cracked of the Flyers' onetime backup goaltender.
"No, just kidding."
Parent said Bobrovsky reminded him of the late Pelle Lindbergh because of his quickness.
"I'm amazed. Most goalies hit their knees and stay there," he said. "This guy hits his knees, and if he has to change positions, it's almost like a spring. He gets right up. Great athlete. Great goalie."
Breakaways. Toronto defenseman Dion Phaneuf, sidelined since Nov. 2 after leg surgery, is expected to return to the lineup Thursday against the visiting Flyers. . . . The Flyers are 3-1-2 in the second game of back-to-back contests this season.