By Darian Somers
Before the bitter on-ice rivalry between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh began on Saturday, the two teams were brought together outdoors as the Flyers unveiled a statue of their hall of fame coach Fred Shero. The late Shero's son, Ray, is the current general manager of the Penguins and watched as construction workers lifted the curtain on the eight-foot tall statue of his father outside of the Wells Fargo Center's XFINITY Live, where the Spectrum once stood.
"That's part of the legacy I talk about with my kids," the younger Shero told NHL.com. "When they come back, they'll always be able to see that and know their grandfather is always going to be part of the Flyers family. That's important to them and I think it would have been incredibly important to my mom and dad."
Over the course of Fred Shero's seven seasons spent in Philly, from 1971-1978, the Flyers won two Stanley Cups, appeared in four finals and only missed the postseason once. Shero helped to build the Broad Street Bullies' reputation as one of the most physical and toughest teams in the NHL, and had a heavy impact on the way the game is coached today, regarded as the first coach to employ systems and morning skates.
"He'll be remembered here forever," Flyers chairman Ed Snider told NHL.com. "I think it's fantastic. He was the greatest coach we ever had, one of the greatest guys you'll ever want to meet."
Shero later wrapped up his coaching career with the Rangers, taking them to two playoff appearances in his three years, including the 1979 Stanley Cup final. Shero died in 1990, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame this past November.