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Flyers Hall of Fame goaltender and subsequent general manager Ron Hextall was born May 3, 1964 in Brandon, Manitoba. The grandson of Hockey Hall of Fame forward Bryan Hextall Sr., the son of NHL player Bryan Hextall Jr. and the nephew of NHLer Dennis Hextall, Ron was the third generation of what became a four-generation pro hockey family. Ron's son, Brett, later played minor league hockey including a stint with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the American Hockey League.

Hextall one of the best puckhandling goaltenders in NHL history. He functioned almost like a third defenseman on opposing dump-ins. During the first portion of his two-stint Flyers playing career, Hextall became the first NHL goaltender to be credited with a goal by virtue of shooting the puck into the other team's net. He was the first to do it both in the regular season and the playoffs.

Hextall was also noted for his combustible temper on the ice, especially in his early years in the NHL. His intensity was almost frightening at times, and he was not shy about wielding the lumber or fighting. His fiery manner on the ice stood in stark contrast to his soft-spoken nature and wry sense of humor off the ice. As a general manager, he has already gained a reputation for being very measured and deliberate whereas he often ran on emotion as a player.

Another Hextall trademark was the way he rhythmically tapped his stick across the goal posts and crossbar, always in the same pattern, before the drop of the puck on faceoffs. The clang-clang-clang of Hextall's stick could be heard throughout the arena.

Considered to be a "born Flyer" because of his intense competitiveness and hatred of losing, Ron Hextall was actually not a Flyers' fan at all in his youth. While he grudgingly respected the team's success and tireless work ethic, the youngster recalled the way that the club, especially Dave "the Hammer" Schultz had brutalized his father and his team, especially during the 1974 Stanley Cup Quarterfinal. As fate would have it, the Flyers drafted Ron Hextall in the sixth round (119th overall) of the 1982 NHL Draft.

Sometimes even tragedy brings about opportunity, and that was the case for Hextall and the Flyers in his early years.

Pelle Lindbergh, already the reigning Vezina Trophy winner and seemingly getting even better at age 26, would have been virtually impossible for any Flyers goalie to displace in the foreseeable future. His fatal car accident in November 1985 left a seemingly gaping hole in the Flyers' lineup.

Elevated from backup to full-time starter following Lindbergh's death, Bob Froese did a commendable job in 1985-86 and even earned a Vezina runner-up spot to winner John Vanbiesbrouck. However, "Frosty" never really gained the full confidence of Flyers coach Mike Keenan, and he got greatly outplayed by Vanbiesbrouck as the heavily favored Flyers got upset by Beezer's New York Rangers in the first round of the 1986 playoffs.

In the meantime, Hextall was putting up passable but not eye-catching numbers as a rookie in the mid-1980s American Hockey League. By 1986-87, however, there was no stopping him. Not only did Hextall earn an NHL roster spot with the Flyers that year, he set his sights very quickly on winning the starting job.

In his landmark Full Spectrum book on Flyers history through 1995-96, Hockey Hall of Fame writer Jay Greenberg tells a story of Froese making a quip to Hextall that he needed to get up and move from the seat where he'd settled on the team bus.

"That's where the number one goalie sits," Froese said.

"I'll have that seat," the rookie responded, making direct eye contact but then finding a different seat.

Hextall got the opening night assignment against the almighty Edmonton Oilers, and went out and earned a 2-1 win. During the course of the game, Hextall stoned Wayne Gretzky with a pad save on a breakaway.

The Great One then stared at Hextall and spoke his first words to him.

"Who the hell are you?" Gretzky said, partially as a chirp and partially in genuine amazement.

"Who the hell are YOU?!" Hextall chirped right back at the player many consider to be the best to ever play the game.

The NHL soon enough knew who Ron Hextall was; and not just as the grandson of Bryan Sr., son of Bryan Jr. and nephew of Dennis. The rookie went on to win the Vezina Trophy and the 1987 Conn Smythe Trophy. He was the primary reason why the Flyers came within one win of their third Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Hextall's incredible rookie season set the bar for the rest of his career so high that he could never realistically approach it again. He had a few strong seasons and quite a few ordinary ones. Much of his subsequent first tenure with the Flyers was marked by a series of groin injuries and contractual squabbles to get paid in line what he thought he was worth (nowadays he's on the other side of the negotiating table, but the same mentality is there).

During those post-rookie years, however, there were still plenty of highlights and dominant stretches in net. It was during this period of his career that Hextall scored regular season goal against Boston (Dec. 8, 1987) and playoffs against Washington (April 11, 1989). Hextall posted eight assists during the 1988-89 season and also set a single-season record for penalty minutes by a goaltender (113) that year.

The Flyers were in a downward slide by this point, but the team unexpectedly reached the conference finals in 1989 even while Hextall missed time with a knee injury in the second and third rounds. Philadelphia lost in six games to the Montreal Canadiens.

Late in the decisive sixth game, Hextall skated far out of his net to attack Montreal's Chris Chelios in retaliation for a vicious (and remorseless) flying elbow that injured veteran Flyers star Brian Propp in the first game of the series. Hextall was suspended 12 games at the start of the next season.

In 1992, the Flyers traded Hextall to the Quebec Nordiques as part of the blockbuster deal that brought the rights to Eric Lindros to Philly. Hextall spent one season apiece in Quebec and with the New York Islanders before being traded back to the Flyers in exchange for goalie Tommy Soderstrom.

During Hextall was in his second stint with the Flyers, he was more in control of his on-ice emotions than he had been his first few years. He was still an outstanding puckhandler and still battled to the hilt for each and every save while not yielding an inch around the crease. Unfortunately, the series of groin pulls and other injuries over the years began to rob him of some of his previous athleticism and most noticeably affected his second-shot recoveries. The second time around with the Flyers, Hextall was more of a sprawling goalie.

Hextall had a decent but not spectacular first season back in Philly, but the team broke through after a five-year playoff drought to reach the Eastern Conference Final before losing a six-game heartbreaker to the New Jersey Devils.

The next year, 1995-96, was arguably the second-best season of his Flyers career despite Hextall's somewhat diminishing physical capabilities. Even as the team got upset by the underdog Florida Panthers in the second round of the playoffs after entering the postseason as the top seed in the East, Hextall was one of the Flyers' best players on the ice.

Following that season, the Flyers and Hextall narrowly avoided going to salary arbitration. An agreement was reached between the team and Hextall's agent, Steve Mountain, on the day of the scheduled hearing. Hextall then spent the rest of his playing career where it started.

Hextall's 1996-97 season did not measure up to his previous campaign, and he gradually became more of a split-time starter - first in tandem with Garth Snow, then with Sean Burke - rather than the clear-cut number one netminder. In his final year before retirement, Hextall became the backup to fellow veteran John Vanbiesbrouck.

Nevertheless, Hextall shined quite a few times during the final phase of his career. Most notably, he helped backstop the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals in combination with Snow. During that same season, Hextall memorably engaged in a toe-to-toe fight with Toronto Maple Leafs counterpart Felix Potvin.

Hextall was cut during the fight; not by a punch but rather when the two combatants accidentally butted heads and the back of Potvin's head connected with Hextall's face as Potvin leaned forward after Hextall's jersey got pulled over the Philly' netminder's head. This has led many in Canada to declare Potvin the winner of the fight but it was actually an even tussle than even the other players scuffling on the ice stopped to watch.

Hextall got the last laugh. Bleeding, he skated past taunting Toronto players and taunted them back by smirking and pointing at the scoreboard, which indicated a 3-1 final score in the Flyers' favor.

Following his retirement as an active player in the summer of 1999, Hextall began his path toward a high-level front office career as he worked his way up the ladder. Through the end of the 2002-03 season, he was a pro scout for the Flyers. He then spent a three-year stint (2003 to 2006) as the organization's director of player personnel under general manager Bob Clarke.

When the Los Angeles Kings hired Dean Lombardi was hired away from a scouting job with the Flyers to become LA's general manager, Lombardi brought Hextall along with him to become the Kings' assistant general manager. During that time, Hextall's responsibilities included deep involvement in scouting, drafting and player development operations as well as being appointed the GM of the Kings' AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs.

Lombardi and Hextall worked together to assemble a Kings team - which had many past Flyers connections in coaching, playing and other capacities - that won the first two Stanley Cups in Kings' franchise history. Hextall got to celebrate the Kings' first Cup on the ice. In 2013-14, Hextall returned to the Flyers to be named assistant general manager and director of hockey operations.

During the first season of his front office return to Philadelphia (which overlapped with LA's second Stanley Cup season), Hextall was asked by long-tenured Flyers general Paul Holmgren if he would be interested in taking over the GM job following the season.

On May 7, 2014, Hextall became the seventh general manager in Flyers franchise history. He was preceded by Bud Poile, Hall of Fame builders category inductee Keith Allen, Bob McCammon, Bob Clarke (first tenure), Russ Farwell, Clarke (second tenure) and Holmgren.

In recognition of his impact on the team during his playing days, Hextall was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame in February of 2008. He also participated in the unforgettable Flyers Alumni vs. Ranger Alumni event on New Year's Eve ahead of the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park. Back surgery prevented him from standing in goal for a portion of the game but he stood behind the Flyers bench and soaked up a hearty ovation.