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Flyers to play starring role on 'The Goldbergs'

Sitcom creator's obsession with favorite team on full display in latest episode

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

The Goldbergs

The Goldbergs make their way to Flyers' game

Murray Goldberg takes his son, Adam, to his first Flyers game - and Adam gains a newfound appreciation for the game. Catch The Goldbergs on ABC

  • 00:45 •

The Philadelphia Flyers have been a near-constant presence on the "The Goldbergs" during the sitcom's five-year on run on ABC, with Flyers posters, sweatshirts and jerseys seemingly appearing in every episode. 

How the show's creator, Adam F. Goldberg, became such a die-hard Flyers fan in the 1980s will be revealed in the latest episode, titled "Colors," which airs Wednesday (8 p.m. ET). 

In the episode, Adam (played by Sean Giambrone) and his father, Murray (Jeff Garlin), attend a game between the Flyers and Winnipeg Jets at the Spectrum, the Flyers' home from 1967-96. Adam, skeptical at first, gets hooked by the speed and physicality of the game, and, at one point, bangs on the glass and yells, "I love hockey! I love hockey!"

Goldberg, 41, said what happens in the episode is not far from reality.

"We had seats in the fourth row, and the minute someone got slammed into the glass in front of me, it was like, 'Oh my God,'" he said. "This was the 1980s and it was Dave Brown. There was a lot of fighting back then. It was a rough game, rougher than it is now. But it was instant love. Those are my best memories, going with my dad. That's how I learned hockey, going to the games."

That moment came after Goldberg had forsaken hockey because of a rough experience.

"I was a legendarily bad player," he said. "Just like on the show, and I did an episode on this in Season 1. I have a lazy eye, no depth perception, I didn't know how to skate, didn't know the rules. My dad's attitude with life was throw you in the deep end, so he threw me on this team and it was a disaster, culminating with me scoring on my own goal. I ended up quitting and always because of that bad experience, not excelling on the team and being insecure and hating every moment of it, I always felt about hockey that it was something I wanted nothing to do with. 
"Then my dad ended up getting season tickets when I was like 11 or 12 and going to that first game is what I recreated in that episode."

Tweet from @TheGoldbergsABC: "He's a moron! It's not his fault!" #TheGoldbergs

Goldberg said his embrace of the sport has been transformative.

"When I was at the end of middle school and the beginning of high school, I fell in love with hockey in a serious way," he said. "And I'm a geek. Anything that I love, I love to the extreme. I'm obsessive. If it's 'Star Wars,' if it's 'Transformers,' if it's the Flyers, I geek out. … I would make hockey movies, I would edit together Flyers games and do highlight reels of goals or fights, which I still have to this day. 

"I was obsessive, and my brother said you're taking hockey, which is the greatest sport, and making it geeky so you have to stop. It angered him."

The episode marks a pivotal time for Adam, his namesake character, and will carry through in upcoming shows.

"That's going to be a whole thing next year," Goldberg said. "Right now Adam is known as this Steven Spielberg-obsessing movie nerd. But this new side is going to come out, which is completely real. I'm very excited about this episode. It's a real turning point for Adam where he finds his love of hockey."

Tweet from @TheGoldbergsABC: Philly's a fan of #TheGoldbergs! Here are some pics of their award presented to the real @adamfgoldberg! See new episodes Weds at 8|7c!

One of Goldberg's regrets living in Los Angeles is being unable to see the Flyers in person, except when they play at the Los Angeles Kings or Anaheim Ducks.

"If I was in Philly it would be one of the biggest parts of my life," he said. "I'd have season tickets and it would just be in the DNA of my life."

Goldberg said his next hockey stunt could be getting Flyers forward Claude Giroux onto the show.

"Claude is my favorite player," Goldberg said. "He was such a delight to talk to. He's hilarious. He wants to be an actor. I dream of if he ever has time off somehow getting him onto the show. He was hilarious."

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