By Brenda Maguire
Before Tuesday night’s game, the Flyers honored Barry Ashbee by presenting the Ashbee banner that was in the Spectrum to Barry’s wife, Donna Ashbee.
The ceremony began with a video tribute to Ashbee, featuring pictures and video, set to David Cook’s, “Time of my Life.” The video also included Ashbee’s teammates Bob Kelly, Bernie Parent, Joe Watson, Gary Dornhoefer and Bill Clement commenting on Ashbee.
“He was the ultimate teammate,” said Clement, “I guess Barry Ashbee can be called the ultimate Flyer.”
Following the video, players from the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation skated the banner out to Donna Ashbee and her children Dan and Heather.
While the banner was delivered, Flyers PA Announcer Lou Nolan gave a history lesson on Ashbee’s career.
There was also a tribute video shown during a commercial in the first period, once again recapping the story of Ashbee’s career and the impact he had on the Philadelphia Flyers organization.
The Flyers acquired Ashbee in 1970 through a trade with the Boston Bruins.
Ashbee finished the 1973-74 season with a +52 before being forced to retire after being hit below his right eye by a puck. The injury happened in Game four of the second series of the playoffs against the Rangers. Ashbee had to sit aside and watch his team win the Stanley Cup without him.
Ashbee became an assistant coach the next season, and helped lead the team’s defense from the bench.
Ashbee was diagnosed with Leukemia and passed away May 12, 1977 at the age of 38, a week after the Flyers were eliminated from the playoffs that year.
In addition to retiring Ashbee’s No. 4, the annual best defenseman award was named after Ashbee.
The Flyers Wives Fight for Lives carnival has been dedicated to Ashbee, and much of the proceeds go to research and treatment of leukemia and other blood diseases.
Every fan to enter the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday was handed a replica Ashbee banner. Throughout the game, the in arena host promoted exclusive Barry Ashbee t-shirts being sold at Fan Gear.
Throughout the game, the Jumbotron showed fans, some too young to have seen Eric Lindros play, holding up their Ashbee banner with pride.
In addition to the in game tribute, the concourse was decorated with signs reading “Ashbee” at each tunnel to the bowl.
E-mail Brenda at BrendaMaguire12@gmail.com