In this week’s Getting To Know, Hall of Famer and former Philadelphia Flyer Bill Barber talks about his inspirations, missing a wide-open net and one memorable fan in Oakland.
Status: NHL left wing for the Philadelphia Flyers from 1972-1984. Currently serves as a scouting consultant for the Flyers. Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 194 pounds
DOB: July 11, 1952 In: Callander, Ontario
First Hockey Memory: “I think would be back in 1958, I remember we had an outdoor rink, seeing the school house team play, and the ice shack, which was set up for us to stay warm in those cold winters.”
Hockey Inspirations: “Gordie Howe, Hockey Night in Canada when I was young. I had an opportunity to watch that. I had an opportunity to go (to) Gordie Howe’s hockey school in Saint St. Clair shorelines in Michigan as a twelve and thirteen year old. Inspiration would be Hockey Night In in Canada.”
First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: “Well, it would be Gordie Howe.”
Greatest Sports Moment(s): “I have a few of them but I would say the Cup years (’74, ’75). Having the opportunity, winning one-nothing against Boston for the first Cup, then winning in Buffalo for the second. Those are winning moments there, of course. I think one of the exciting moments was being drafted by Philadelphia in 1972, drafted seventh overall, and wearing No. 7, so that was pretty special.”
Most Painful Moment: “Knee problem. I really hurt my knee bad in 1976 (in New York). (How?) Hyper-extended. I had some good years after, it was operated on in April 1984 (reconstructive knee surgery) and it ended my career.”
Most Memorable Goal: “Well, I think from the standpoint of the winning goal, in game four against Boston, in the first year we won the Cup, it was a very, very close game and getting the winning goal there. Andre Dupont scored right after that. So that gave us a 3-1 lead going back into Boston. So it was a big game for us. And that’s one of the goals. I’m lucky – I have some good memories of goals.”
Fiercest Competitors Encountered: “Pretty much everybody, Boston was always tough, Montreal was tough. So I can’t name any one individual, I can name teams that were very competitive, Montreal, Boston. Those kinds of teams were very, very competitive, tough buildings to play in – and to try to win games in.”
Favorite NHL Uniforms: ”Well, I like our uniforms. I think Chicago is pretty neat. I think if you look at all the Original Six teams, they’re all pretty special. You look at the Blackhawks, look at Detroit’s, Toronto, Montreal, Boston. They’re all pretty special jerseys.”
Favorite Rinks To Play In: “I would say Chicago was one of them, the old (Chicago) Stadium, it was small and very loud. And Montreal, Los Angeles, Toronto is pretty special. There’s four, five, six rinks that were pretty unique to play in, Boston also. Again, it goes right back to the Original Six.”
Embarrassing Hockey Memory: “There’s probably a lot of them. Missing an open net that was almost like a gimme, those kinds of things are embarrassing. (Against who?) Oh, I couldn’t remember who the team was. I made up for it though, when we went back out for the third period, I started it off and ended up scoring in the very first shift of the third period. But still it was embarrassing.”
Strangest Game: “Well, it would probably be the Buffalo game in the finals with the fog and the bat. I would say that was an unusual game, to say the least [chuckles]. We didn’t win the game unfortunately but it was kind of a different game.”
Funny Hockey Memory: “Well, I would say in Oakland, when they were in the League, they had a guy named Krazy George who used to bang on the drum over there on the top of the glass. Pretty unique. And I heard he was a professor on top of that [smiles].”
Nicknames: “Just Arnie at the pro level – mediocre golfer. And B and B when I was in junior.”
Favorite Sport Outside Hockey: “More hockey [chuckles]. I don’t know about that one. I played soccer when I was a kid and I enjoyed playing it but can’t say I’m a big fan of watching it… Car racing, NASCAR.”
Closest NHL Friends: “I can name the whole alumni [laughs]. I could start with my brothers, they all played. But, anyway, the guys that I played with, I’d have to go with the Cup years with the guys that I played with, they’re very special, and still are today.”
People Qualities Most Admired: “People with character and honesty, work ethic, all that stuff makes a good person. Good family man.”
Career Accomplishments: Won two Stanley Cups with the Flyers; Holds Flyers record for regular season goals (420) and tied with Rick MacLeish for total playoff goals (53); (according to NHL.com stats MacLeish has 54 goals) Scored 50 goals and totaled 62 assists for Flyers in ’75-76; Also has his name on Stanley Cup as Director of Player Personnel for Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004; Inducted to Hockey Hall of Fame in ’90.
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