Tough way to go for historic Spectrum

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

PHIL ADELPHIA -- The description most used by sports fans to describe the Philadelphia Spectrum was "tough building."

Apparently, it wasn't just a term for the Philadelphia Flyers teams which played inside the arena.

Seems the old barn's toughness could be taken literally.

It should come as no surprise the wrecking ball needed a few whacks to put the hole which now exists in the Spectrum -- which is just across the parking lot from the Flyers current home, the Wells Fargo Center.

"It just goes to show you what that building was," said Flames assistant coach Ryan McGill, who played nearly three full seasons for the Flyers in early 1990s -- the era of the Legion of Doom with Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg. "It's too bad they're knocking it down. It's a great landmark."

The first steps to destroying the Spectrum came this week during a ceremony with the likes of Bob Clarke, Dave Schultz and Bernie Parent on hand.

Although it was home to Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers, the Spectrum will always be known for housing the rough-and-tumble Flyers, who used intimidation as much as skill to win consecutive Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975.

"The fans were the same way as the players," McGill said. "The atmosphere was so good. It was like a Canadian city. If they didn't like the way you were playing, they booed you, too. They were tough on the visiting team, but had high expectations on the home team.

"They were passionate."

Flames head coach Brent Sutter played his share of intense games in the Spectrum, but one which stands out came in the 1983-84 season when he and brother Duane were with the New York Islanders and faced a Flyers team with their youngest brothers, twins Rich and Ron.

"I think it was the third shift of the game and we all got into a scrum. That was neat in itself," Brent said with a smile. "I think my parents were hoping the younger ones would win."

The Flyers moved to their new home for the 1996-97 season, and although it was home to the AHL Phantoms through the 2008-09 season, there aren't many players remaining who skated in it for NHL clashes.


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