From Brawls to a Missing Bus: the Unforgettable First Season of the Philadelphia Firebirds

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Bruce "Scoop" Cooper.

Bruce “Scoop” Cooper.

Philadelphia has been a hockey town since 1897. Well before the Flyers were even a thought in someone’s head, the city had called itself home to various minor league squads, along with one horrid season from the NHL’s Quakers in 1930-31. Even after the Flyers began their tenure as the city’s top hockey organization, Philadelphia still welcomed other professional teams, from a World Hockey Association franchise that lasted just one season to minor league teams such as the Firebirds of the now-defunct North American League, the circuit on which Slap Shot was based. From the sport’s start at the University of Pennsylvania in the 19th century, hockey has always been at or near the top of charts in Philadelphia. In this excerpt from the new book, Professional Hockey in Philadelphia: A History, that story is told through the Firebirds and the many antics that endeared them to their faithful fans.