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Ray Shero: Flyers, Fred will walk together forever

by Corey Masisak

TORONTO -- After NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman spoke about each of the honorees, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero went to the podium to speak about his late father, Fred, who was a legendary coach of the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.

Ray Shero began by talking about what his father was like. He quoted Bobby Clarke's eulogy from when Fred passed away in 1990.

He said his father was always preaching the importance of education. He said when others were threatening to leave for the WHA, Fred threatened to leave for law school. Ray also said Fred claimed to be the only card-carrying member of the New York Public Library on the New York Rangers' roster.

Shero talked about his father's influence by Russian hockey. He talked about his father's trip to Russia shortly after winning the first Stanley Cup, because he didn't want to become complacent. He said Fred enjoyed the trip, but his mother cried through the entire three-week trip.

Ray Shero also told a great story about going fishing on Bernie Parent's fishing boat with Fred, Bernie and his brother. Fred was sick and below deck, but when he told Parent that he was feeling ill, Bernie asked him if he remembered all those hard drills he had made the players take part in, and then said, "Well, screw you," and they kept fishing.

Next he thanked everyone in the Flyers organization who was able to come to Toronto for the induction, and asked them to stand so he could recognize them for their part in Fred Shero's career and for coming to honor his father.

Shero coached for 10 seasons in the NHL. He won 390 games, four division titles and back-to-back Stanley Cup titles with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1974 and 1975. Shero also helped the Flyers back to the Cup Final in 1976 and the New York Rangers to the Final in his first season with the club in 1978-79.

Shero was an innovator as a coach. He's credited with being the first NHL coach to study and use video as part of his coaching, bringing the morning skate to the League and the first coach to encourage strength training during the season. He was also considered the first NHL coach to study and adopt some of the philosophies of the Soviet Union national team.

Bettman said Shero's willingness to incorporate international hockey theory ushered in a coaching revolution in the League. One of Shero's many famous sayings that he would write on the chalkboard before games came in Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins.

"Win today and we walk together forever," Shero wrote. During an introduction video, Flyers great Bobby Clarke said that quote has become the most famous and all these years later because he was right.

Ray Shero closed his speech by saying the city of Philadelphia has continued to have a love affair with that team, and they truly will walk together forever.


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