The Philadelphia Flyers have been around for 50 years now, and there have been just a handful of folks who have been part of the franchise from the beginning. One of those folks is Lou Nolan, the team’s public-address announcer since 1972 (and a public-relations assistant to another lifer, Joe Kadlec, the previous five years).
If you think that a guy who’s had a rinkside seat between the penalty boxes for nearly every Flyers home game for 45 years would have some great stories about the Orange & Black, you’re absolutely right. And the good news is that Lou, with help from Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, has put all of those memories into an entertaining book, If These Walls Could Talk: Philadelphia Flyers.
As you would expect, Lou details the Flyers’ growing pains during the late 1960s and early 70s, the arrival of the “Broad Street Bullies” and the two Stanley Cup championships that followed, the memorable game against the Soviet Red Army in 1976, and Lou’s fondness for the Flyers’ founder and longtime owner, the late Ed Snider.
But you’ll also read Lou’s personal memories of many of the team’s great players over the last five decades – from Bernie Parent, Bobby Clarke and Bill Barber right up through Claude Giroux, the Flyers’ 35-game unbeaten streak in 1979-80, Lou’s recollection of getting the news about the tragic death of Pelle Lindbergh in 1985, the Winter Classic games, and the rocky end to the Eric Lindros era in Philly.
Another entertaining aspect of the book is that Lou includes various personal “lists”: Best Flyers Leaders (no surprise that Bobby Clarke tops that one), 10 Toughest Flyers (several obvious names, plus some that might surprise you), and Lou’s All-Chatty Team – Penalty-Box Division (including Joe Watson, Jeremy Roenick and “laugh riot” Keith Jones).
There are also lots of anecdotes along the way, including how Lou got pelted with a bucket of ice during his very first game as P.A. announcer, Ed Snider’s surprising reaction to the first playing of Kate Smith’s “God Bless America” instead of the national anthem, what happened when Lou didn’t realize his mic was still on while was checking out the crowd one night, and the time that Snider kicked Donald Trump out of his box!
If you’re a fan of the team, Lou’s unique perspective on the Flyers’ first 50 years via If These Walls Could Talk: Philadelphia Flyers is a must-read book. –Jim “Chet” Chesko
NOTES: Lou Nolan will be at Carl’s Card’s in Havertown, PA, for a book-signing and autograph session on Saturday, 12/9, from 1 to 3 pm. Sam Carchidi will be a guest on Philly Pressbox Radio on Wednesday, 12/13, at 7pm.