Flyers’ Coates retires after 43 years with the organization

Flyers' Steve Coates
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 15: Philadelphia Flyers Alumni coach Steve Coates (32) waves during the Flyers Alumni Orange and Black game on November 15, 2021 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA.(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

On April 1st, 2023, the Philadelphia Flyers will honor the career of Steve Coates, who retired after 43 years of service with the organization.

A legendary hockey personality in Philadelphia, Coates was always entertaining, whether on television or radio. He’ll remain active in Flyers Alumni events following this season. Coates had this to say upon his retirement announcement:

“The Philadelphia Flyers organization is unlike any other in professional sports, and it has truly been my honor to have been a part of it for so many years. This organization has given me a home and a family. It has led me to forge lifelong relationships and the very best of friendships with everyone I’ve had the privilege to work with along the way.”

Steve Coates; 3/24/2023

Despite the highs and lows that came with the on-ice product over the years, Coates served as a passionate voice of the team. His unique, fun, but knowledgeable insight into the personalities in the locker room, the incredible “Coatesy’s Corner” series, stand out as some of the best memories from better days.

“There’s no doubt that Coatesy is one of the sharpest analysts in hockey, whether it’s breaking down a game, a player, or situation, but his impact on the Flyers has been much greater than that. What makes Coatesy truly unique is his ability to connect with everyone he meets through his infectious and welcoming personality – that’s why he will always be beloved by our players, coaches, and fans.”

Dave Scott; 3/24/2023

The pregame ceremony honoring Coates’ career will happen before a 7pm puck drop against the Buffalo Sabres. There will be an additional press release including more intricate details about the pre-game ceremony on April 1st, 2023 as the date approaches. Philadelphia will begin a search for a new color analyst for their radio broadcast this summer. As a tribute to Coates, I found five of my favorite segments from “Coatsey’s Corner” that stand the test of time:

Craig Berube

Appropriately, here is a former segment where Coates sounds off about players retiring at the right age. Brian Propp retired at 34, a fifteen-year career finishing with the Hartford Whalers.

Then, Craig Berube snatches the microphone, and Coates shifts to stating how happy he is that Berube is playing at 37 years old, with the Calgary Flames in 2002-2003. His timing and wit shined. At the time of this interview, it was the 1000th game for Berube.

Coates: “When you look at your record, seventh in the all-time penalty minute list; you realize you spent two full days in the penalty box?”

Berube: “That’s why I can play so long. I really haven’t played that much.”

Sergei Bobrovsky

Remember when Sergei Bobrovsky stirred a little goaltender controversy, challenging Ilya Bryzgalov for the starting role? Immediately after leaving the Philadelphia Flyers, Bobrovsky won the Vezina Trophy with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Before the Flyers regrettably moved on from Bobrovsky, he and Coates had one of the more memorable segments in all of the “Coatesy’s Corner” glory. Coates, in the holiday spirit, dressed as “Coatesy Claus,” had gifts for each player. To anything Coates asked or said, Bobrovsky answered confidently: “Bob.”

It’s a segment in time where Bobrovsky displayed complete joy while in Philadelphia.

“Coatesy Claus: Part Two”

Bobrovsky was a hit. Here’s another classic “Coatesy Claus” segment.

Jakub Voracek heard criticism from Coates about missing goals. What did “Coatesy Claus” get Voracek for Christmas that year? A goal! The moment was magic, and still funny all these years later.

Michael Raffl and Michael Del Zotto both riffed on each other. Coates harped on Raffl turning away from shots while attempting to block, so he gifted two shin pads for each leg, blaming the North Pole for poor product design. A complete pro with the banter, Raffl mentioned he would skate like Del Zotto if he wore those pads as the North Pole intended.

Del Zotto received a selfie stick, which is on brand, and a whole turkey. Coates covered the major fall and winter holidays in one gift-giving extravaganza.

Roller Coatesy

A professional, Coates didn’t let a torn ACL stop him from capturing the essence of “Coatesy’s Corner.” He got the lowdown on a season-long rivalry between Travis Konecny and Nick Cousins in Yahtzee!

Claude Giroux received marriage advice from Raffl and Del Zotto. Short and sweet, they both agreed on “run” as the best advice before laughing it off.

Coates also challenged a fan to a race while chatting with Cousins. As you’ll see in the final entry, he has a need for speed.

Zamboni Race

Coates and Cousins participated in a head-to-head Zamboni race. To be fair, it was Cousins’ idea, but he didn’t need to twist Coates’ arm. From the end line to the midline, the winner of the Zamboni race had bragging rights.

You knew Coates had to have a trick up his sleeve, right? He tampered with Cousins’ vehicle.

To this day, Coates is the undisputed Zamboni king of Philadelphia.

(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)