The Flyers were in the hunt for a division title in their inaugural season in the West Division of the NHL. They were to face off against another expansion team fighting for playoff aspirations, the Los Angeles Kings. A glance at the boxscore in the annals of the NHL will show that the result of this game was a 0-0 scoreless tie. It would be the first scoreless tie for both clubs. However, if one were to dig a little deeper, there is a lot of NHL, and even sports, history attached to this game and these proud franchises.
The game was a ‘home’ game for the Flyers, but it wasn’t played in Philadelphia. Instead, it was played in Quebec City, at Le Colisee -- which became the “temporary” home for the Flyers after a March 1st storm damaged the roof of the Spectrum. The Flyers would be forced to play their last seven home games elsewhere, five of them in Quebec City.
As for these two new expansion teams in the now 12-team NHL, the Flyers owner was current chairman Ed Snider, who was the driving force to bring NHL hockey to Philadelphia. His bid for an NHL franchise was chosen over the bid placed by a group who wanted a team in Baltimore. As for the owner of the Kings in 1968? He was none other than Jack Kent Cooke, a Canadian born entrepreneur who obtained his wealth from numerous media companies in the US and Canada. Most in the sports world associate Jack for his ownership and guidance of the NFL's Washington Redskins throughout their Super Bowl years of the 1980s and 1990s; however in 1966, Cooke won the bid for the NHL's Los Angeles franchise. He then named his new team the "Kings." Like Snider, he too had an area built for his team. He would also have his NBA team, the Lakers, which he purchased in September of 1965, play there as well. This new arena was to be built in Inglewood, California and Jack dubbed it to be ‘the most beautiful arena in the world’ ---The Forum.
Back to this NHL game. Without any score, played in a place that neither called their home and seen by an announced attendance of just 4,116 fans, it did hold some other history. Oddly enough, it featured two future Hall of Fame goaltenders. The goalie for the Kings that day had a storied career in the 50’s and into the 60’s with the Detroit Red Wings, the legendary Terry Sawchuk. Terry was the first player selected in the 1967 expansion draft, left unprotected by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flyers’ goalie was a young Canadian from Montreal who was just beginning his remarkable career. His name was Bernie Parent.
Although there were six minor penalties divided evenly for each team, the Kings had the better of the play as they outshot the Flyers 32-20. Each team would receive a point for their efforts. As fate would have it, the Flyers would later win the West Division over the Kings by... Yes, just that one point. The Flyers went on to the postseason, playing their first playoff game on April 4th in a repaired Spectrum, losing 1-0 to the St Louis Blues. In that first round, they would eventually fall to the Blues in seven games. The Kings also went to the playoffs but ended up losing their first-round matchup in six games to the Minnesota North Stars.
For a game in which no one scored and not many attended, it certainly made a difference in the standings. And its teams, who were led by pioneers in ownership, also made a difference some 47 years ago in the shaping of the NHL.
Mike Watson is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @Mwats_99