January 11, 1976, is a day Flyers fans will remember forever. To paraphrase a great quote, ” A Date That Will Live in Infamy.” At the height of Cold War tension, the National Hockey League invited a pair of teams from the Soviet Union to take on teams from the National Hockey League in a more battle, of wills than a battle of strength. Hall of Famer, Bill Barber, summed it up quite succinctly. “They hated us, we hated them.”
After being embarrassed by the Soviets, the NHL could only boast a tie, and the eyes of hockey as well as the world were squarely fixed on the Spectrum in Philadelphia on a Sunday afternoon. Philadelphia, probably the most hated team in the NHL. They were two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions. The Flyers embodied the Philadelphia, “in your face” attitude.
Soviets vs the NHL
While most of the games featured the storied NHL getting roped into the swirling pass to pass Russian style. Flyers Coach, Fred Shero, was either eccentric or a genius, knew the Russian style and, decided to make fun of Boris Mikhaliek, the Russian superstar.
“They are led by a guy who looks like Stan Laurel” the brashness made the Russian machine look human. Suddenly, the reality of being less than a machine sunk in. Throughout the series, the Russians were getting away with high sticks and ankle slashes. The tide quickly changed when the Flyers simply outmuscled them and they went off the ice.
A simple ploy to take the American money. They were not coming back and, in a classic Communist move, only came back when the threat of not getting paid for the series. Of course, they quickly came back. A frenzied Philadelphia crowd continuously gave the “Red Army” warm regards for the remainder of the 4-1 Flyers Win. January 11, 1976, ahh…memories.
Kevin has followed and promoted the game of lacrosse since May 19, 1974.
The same day the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, the Philadelphia Wings were introduced to Neibauer and Philadelphia.
Kevin has covered many sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and.. lacrosse. A former licensed football referee and baseball umpire, Kevin brings a unique insight to his game coverage.
A published writer in JustHockey Magazine, Kevin covered the American Hockey League as well as a monthly story on a pugilist where Kevin used the pen name, The Rink Rat. Neibauer turned his attentions to lacrosse for a few years and does his part, whether podcasting or writing to grow the game. Kevin branched out to his roots and currently provides insight for all Philadelphia teams for Edge of Philly as well as his full-time duties with LaxPhilly.