Ed Van Impe (1968-73)
Ed Van Impe was an original Flyer, having been claimed from the Chicago Blackhawks in the original expansion draft. He assumed the role of Captain when Lou Angotti was traded following the Flyers first-round playoff loss to the St. Louis Blues. Other than the Flyers play that would earn the team the now famous nickname “Broad Street Bullies”, Van Impe’s Captaincy was relatively free from controversy.
Van Impe’s claim to bad boy fame came later after he had relinquished the C to Bobby Clarke. In 1976, the Flyers were a part of the Super Series 76, and would play a game against the Soviet lion’s Central Red Army team.
The Flyers were the defending Stanley Cup Champions at the time, and while they were the most hated team in the NHL on a daily basis, the entire United States was rooting for the Flyers on January 11, 1976, in hopes that the Bullies could finally beat the hated Russians.
As a Broad Street Bully blueliner, Van Impe was known for his thundering hits, and he did not disappoint in the game against the Soviets. After being released from the penalty box for a hooking infraction, Van Impe set his sights on Soviet superstar Valeri Kharlamov, and unloaded a hit so brutal that it left Kharlamov unconscious on the ice.
The hit was not called as a penalty, causing the Russians to leave the ice in protest. The Soviet team returned only after being told they would forfeit payment for the series if they did not complete the game.
Meanwhile, the Flyers won the game by a score of 4-1, and were the only team to win a game against the Red Army Team during the series.