PHILADELPHIA - Former Philadelphia Flyers forward and current broadcaster Bill Clement became the fourth member of the Broad Street Bullies to become a U.S. citizen this fall when he was sworn in at the 11th Street Atrium at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.
Clement made it official when he recited the Pledge of Allegiance at a ceremony, shown to the fans inside the arena on the video board during the first intermission of the Flyers-Rangers game.
"It's very meaningful to become a U.S. citizen in front of the fans and, on top of that, witness a great hockey game between two rivals," Clement told NHL.com. "If I'm willing to become an American citizen, I would do it if I had to forsake my Canadian citizenship or not."
Clement, 59, joins former teammates Dave Schultz, Orest Kindrachuk and Bob Kelly, who took the oath of allegiance earlier this season. In addition to his family, Schultz, Kindrachuk and Kelly were also on hand to support Clement as he took oath.
"Yeah, it's nice we're becoming U.S. citizens together; it's kind of what we stood for as teammates on the ice," Clement told NHL.com. "We did things together like win Stanley Cups and socialize, so it made a lot of sense when the idea was floated that a number of us do it at the same time."
Clement recently had his green card renewed, but felt the longer he lived in the United States, the more he felt like an American.
Clement passed his oral exam at the immigration department four weeks ago, during which he had to answer at least six of 10 questions. He went six for his first six.
"I've made the U.S. my home since I was a 20-year-old coming to play, so almost all of my adult life has been spent in the U.S.," Clement said. "It's home and as long as it's home, it's the right thing to do.
"If I can talk (American) politics with people, I should at least be able to vote. Sometimes those debates seem rather farcical coming from me when I don't even have the right to vote," he continued.
Clement was born in Buckingham, Que., but his hometown is actually Thurso, a French-speaking city located along the Ottawa River. In fact, he grew up two blocks from Montreal Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur and played hockey with him as a kid.
When asked if Schultz had passed his oral test, Clement laughed.
"Yeah, he did," he said. "Can you believe it?"
Schultz epitomized the image of Philadelphia's Broad Street Bullies, as he never wavered in his desire to drop the gloves and participate in a slugfest to the delight of the hometown faithful. He still holds the League record for most penalty minutes in a season (472 in 1974-75) and led the NHL in penalty minutes three other times. He totaled 2,294 PIMs during an NHL career that spanned nine seasons.
"The funniest line I heard was 'Shultz has been called a lot of things, but never an American citizen,' " Schultz told NHL.com.
"To be honest with you, I'm just under the amount of penalty minutes to qualify as an American citizen," quipped Schultz. "I'm only around 4,000 penalty minutes, including the minor leagues, so I was still able to qualify."
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