(Philadelphia, PA) - Dave “The Hammer” Schultz only spent four years in a Philadelphia Flyers uniform but they were certainly memorable seasons. It’s fair to say that Schultz was the poster child for the Broad Street Bullies of the mid-1970s.
During his Flyers career, Schultz was easily the most vilified player around the National Hockey League. In Philadelphia, however, he could do no wrong. Schultz’s stature as one of the most popular players among the local fan base that the organization honored in inducting him as the 20th member of the Flyers Hall of Fame.
“The Flyers fans always treated me so well, and I can honestly say that I’m humbled by this honor. I can’t even wrap my head around it yet,” Schultz said on Saturday night. “Even when I played for other teams, I never had an experience like I did with the Flyers. Nothing compared to it, and the fans were a big part of it.
“Whenever I come to the building now and get introduced to the crowd or just walk around, I’m always amazed by how much appreciate what the team accomplished and the role I played in it. I was just a small part of it, but people here never forget you. ”
Schultz wasn’t necessarily the best fighter in the NHL, but he was the most active. The Hammer would work himself into a frenzy before he even hit the ice, and he had a flair for showmanship. He could also play hockey when he wanted to.
While his defining legacy was the fact that he topped 300 penalty minutes in three consecutive seasons (topping out at an astounding 472 in 1974-75), he also had a knack for coming through in the clutch. The Hammer scored 20 goals in the Flyers’ first Stanley Cup season and played an important role in each of the three playoff series the Flyers won on the way to claiming the 1973-74 championship.
Before the start of the induction ceremony, a collection of memorable moments from Schultz’s Philadelphia career were shown on the Arenavision screen to the strains of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” Public address announcer Lou Nolan then began the ceremony, which also included a video retrospective of “The Hammer’s” Philadelphia career narrated by television play-by-play announcer Jim Jackson.
With his two sons, Chad and Brett, and Broad Street Bullies teammate and longtime friend Bob “The Hound” Kelly looking on, Schultz was introduced to the crowd to a loud ovation. Current Flyers captain Mike Richards presented a gift on behalf of the team.
The Schultz clan posed alongside a commemorative poster before Kelly unveiled the bust of Schultz that will be permanently displayed in the area. At this point, Schultz addressed the Wachovia Center crowd before his Hall of Fame banner was raised to the rafters.
“I left here 33 years ago and I’m coming back to stay. Thank you to the people that voted for me so I can receive this great honor. I’m joining great company tonight,” said Schultz.
The Hammer went on to single out several of his former teammates for their roles in his career and gave special thanks to longtime general manager Keith Allen, the late Fred Shero and club president Ed Snider. He then turned his attention to his family members, including his late father and brother.
“Most of all, thank you to the fans,” Schultz continued. “Flyers fans are the greatest, and I love you all. …For me, this is as good as it gets.
“Good luck and God bless the Philadelphia Flyers.”