On March 1, 1968, high winds caused a 50-by-150-foot portion of the covering on the brand new Philadelphia Spectrum's roof off during a performance of the Ice Capades. There were no serious injuries. Two weeks earlier, however, there had been a similar occurrence.
The late Hal Freedman, the first president of the Spectrum, was sitting in his office during the Ice Capades, unaware of what was happening atop the roof. He recalled to the Philadelphia Inquirer how his nephew entered the office and broke the news.
"Uncle Hal, I think you've got a problem," he said. "The roof is blowing off."
The Spectrum closed for the next month. As a result, the Flyers played their final seven "home" games in other cities, posting a 3-2-2 record.
"We were like a bunch of vagabonds, traveling around and playing our home games where we could schedule them," recalls Joe Watson.
Most famously, the Flyers were the home team in a 1-1 tie against the Oakland Seals at Madison Square Garden in New York on March 3. Four nights later, the Flyers sustained a 2-1 loss at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in a game that nearly was not played because of the exorbitant fees charged by Harold Ballard, the crusty owner of the Maple Leafs and chairman of Maple Leaf Gardens.
Thereafter, the Flyers played their final five home games in Quebec City; home of the Quebec Aces, the Flyers' American Hockey League farm club. The Flyers claimed a 2-0 win over the Minnesota North Stars (March 10), a 0-0 tie against the Los Angeles Kings (March 14), a highly satisfying 7-4 victory over the Maple Leafs (March 17) and a 2-0 shutout of the St. Louis Blues (March 28). The stretch concluded with a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins (March 30).
The Flyers clinched first place in the NHL's new Western Division while making Quebec City their home base, as the LA Kings lost on the west coast. Ed Snider convened a team celebration in his hotel room.
"Ah, did we have to clinch now?" griped free spirited goalie Doug Favell. "'The Slime People' is on the late, late movie."
The Spectrum roof was repaired in time for the Flyers to open the Stanley Cup quarterfinals against the St. Louis Blues on April 4, 1968.
MARCH 1 Through the Years
- 1975: The Flyers breeze to a 3-0 shutout win over the lowly Kansas City Scouts, outshooting KC by a 45-16 margin in the process. Rick MacLeish, Andre "Moose" Dupont and Terry Crisp score the goals. Wayne Stephenson earns the shutout.
- 1988: Rick Tocchet notches his third career hat trick, hitting the 30-goal plateau for the season, in a 7-3 road win over the Vancouver Canucks. Peter Zezel compiles three assists.
- 1988: The Flyers acquire offensive defenseman Willie Huber from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Paul Lawless and Vancouver's previously acquired 1989 fifth-round draft pick (Peter White). Huber goes on to experience a brief late-career revival with the Flyers, posting 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 10 games down the stretch.
- 1997: Trent Klatt scores his first NHL hat trick in a nationally televised 5-5 tie on the road against the Boston Bruins. The Flyers are unable to protect a two-goal lead in the third period and settle for one point. Mikael Renberg and Shjon Podein also tally for Philly. Klatt's three goals give him 20 for the season.
- 2001: Roman Cechmanek posts a 26-save shutout in a 2-0 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres. Second-period goals by Keith Primeau and Eric Desjardins are all the Czech goalie needs. Daymond Langkow and Mark Recchi assist on both goals.
- 2003: Jeremy Roenick's goal exactly one minute into overtime -- Roenick's second tally of the game -- lifts the Flyers to a 3-2 road win over the Boston Bruins. Earlier in the game, Donald Brashear gives the Flyers a 2-1 lead in the second period.
- 2003: The Flyers reacquire defenseman Dmitri Yushkevich. Philadelphia trades a 2003 fourth-round pick and a 2004 seventh-rounder to the Los Angeles Kings.
March 1: Flyers Birthdays
- The Flyers' 1988 first-round pick, left winger Claude Boivin was born on March 1, 1970 in Ste. Foy, Quebec.
- Defenseman Jeff Lank was born on March 1, 1975 in Indian Head, Saskatchewan.
- The late Allan Stanley, who finished his Hockey Hall of Fame career with the Flyers in 1968-69 and set a still-standing franchise record as the oldest player to appear for the team, was born on March 1, 1926 in Timmins, Ontario.
- Haitian-born, Canadian-raised forward Claude Vilgrain was born March 1, 1963 in Port-au-Prince.