Even before the 1985-86 season started, many Philadelphia Flyers
players circled the Nov. 14 meeting with the Edmonton Oilers
on their calendars. The game at the Spectrum marked a rematch from the 1985 Stanley Cup Final, and would be a measuring-stick game for the Flyers. Anticipation built even higher as Philadelphia compiled a 10-game winning streak heading into a four-day break before the showdown with Edmonton.
By the time the game finally rolled around, however, its meaning had dramatically changed. At 5:45 a.m. on Nov. 10, following a celebration after 5-3 Flyers victory over the Boston Bruins
, goaltender Pelle Lindbergh
crashed his custom-built Porsche 930 Turbo into a wall at the juncture of Somerdale Road and Ogg Avenue in Somerdale, N.J. The 26-year-old Lindbergh was rendered brain dead, and his two passengers were seriously injured in the crash.
The crash was caused both by the fact that Lindbergh had been drinking and his predilection for speeding. Ironically, Lindbergh rarely consumed any alcohol during the hockey season, but relaxed his usual routine because of the long layoff between the Bruins game (in which he was rested in favor of backup Bob Froese
) and the upcoming Oilers game. The Flyers had canceled practice for the next two days and Lindbergh had planned to attend a boat show in Atlantic City the next day.
At the time of the accident, Lindbergh's mother, Anna-Lisa, and brother-in-law, Göran Hornestam, were staying in the Kings Grant home that Pelle shared with his fiancée, Kerstin Pietzsch. Lindbergh remained on life support until his father, the late Sigge Lindbergh, could fly in from Sweden to say his final goodbyes to his son.
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