Flyers ‘new era of orange’ means evolving in the NHL

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Flyers' GM Daniel Briere
FILE – Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team newly appointed Special Assistant to the General Manager, Daniel Briere, arrives for a news conference in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. The Flyers have named long-time television analyst Keith Jones team president of hockey operations and have removed the interim tag from general manager Danny Briere’s title. Jones was a surprise choice Thursday, May 11, 2023, after he spent the last 23 years as an analyst for Flyers telecasts on NBC Sports Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Six days ago, the missing piece to the Philadelphia Flyers ‘triumvirate’ was officially named. 

The following day, all the front office made themselves available, providing the most transparent answers and details to whom it may concern about the Flyers’ plan to usher in a ‘new era of orange’ in Philadelphia. Dan Hilferty, Daniel Briere, Keith Jones, and John Tortorella, introduced by Valerie Camillo, made their roles apparent, showing the new wrinkle in their strategy, despite the outlook of another hire with former ties to the franchise.

Still, a lot of questioning remained. Jones doesn’t have the experience; why him? Are too many eggs being put into one basket with Briere? Then, on the business end, some still are unfamiliar with Hilferty. Hilferty, a Philadelphian raised in South Jersey, first and foremost, declares himself a fan but so is the rest of the city.

This morning, ’32 Thoughts’ with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek featured an extensive conversation with Hilferty. An ‘inclusive, collaborative leader,’ Hilferty showed the process of constructing the Flyers’ front office from his perspective. A ‘new era of orange’ means keeping the same passion of an old legacy without ignoring the evolution of the NHL.

Forming the Front Office

Floored by the determination, Hilferty reminisced about a time when Briere, centered in a cubicle at Comcast Spectacor, conquered the general management program at Penn’s Wharton School of Business. It was never a question of if he had the correct GM.

Flyers' Daniel Briere
FILE – Danny Briere speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Voorhees, N.J. The Philadelphia Flyers have fired general manager Chuck Fletcher and promoted former franchise great Danny Briere to the interim job, according to a person familiar with the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Friday, March 10, 2023, because the move had not officially been announced. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Additionally, Tortorella is a ‘world-class’ coach and a former Stanley Cup champion.

Jones is a hire that’ll “assist in telling the story to the public, be a part of the NHL leadership infrastructure, and could be that third collaborative piece with Danny and Torts in making sure that we really leave no stone uncovered; that we patiently build back the Flyers’ tradition and heritage as the envy of the NHL,” said Hilferty.

“He [Tortorella] wants this team and this organization to get back on the map. His intentions are in the right place. He talks a lot about accountability. When a coach has a little bit more [of a] say, he’s got probably a lot more accountability. He’s going to be putting his word out there, and he’s going to be looking to back it up with the players that come in and join this team. He has a great feel [of] how to build a team.”

Keith Jones; 5/15/2023

Collaboration is the buzzword from Hilferty, and based on what Jones said on ‘Frankly Speaking’ with Frank Seravalli, the front office is ready to get the Flyers back on track together. Briere and Tortorella already had discussions toward the end of the season when the assistants served as bench bosses. No one agrees to take any shortcuts, meaning the development of young players takes precedence over signing a highly touted free agent. Hilferty assembled this front office with the common goal of rebuilding the right way.

RIP ‘Broad Street Bullies’ Era

It had to be said.

Five days ago, Jones stated this is still Ed Snider’s team. Honoring and not losing sight of that is critical to the narrative.

However, Hilferty did a fine job reiterating those points while capturing the importance of change. The NHL evolved, and the Flyers are playing catch up, evidenced by the rebuild. Honoring the past cannot happen without preparing for the future.

“We’ve got to play differently. The days of the ‘Broad Street Bullies’ are, for the most part, over. What the new game’s about, we’ve got to be about.”

Dan Hilferty; 5/17/2023

Older fans remember the Stanley Cup teams in 1974 and 1975. In the 1990s, Jones remembers what it was like to play on the ice with Eric Lindros and John LeClair. Briere played on the last Flyers team to make a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2010. The experiences throughout these unrelated decades all provide a taste of excellence; Hilferty assembled a front office that understands the Philadelphia fans are ready to bring that passion to this era.

“We made it very clear that whether it be Bob Clarke, Paul Holmgren, Bill Barber, or other alums who come from that earlier era; we’re going to cherish what they did for this organization, we’re going to respect them as members of our overall team, but they are not going to make the decisions going forward.”

Dan Hilferty; 5/17/2023

Outright, Hilferty said, ‘this is a rebuild.’ The Flyers are transparent, different from the pivots Fletcher made, such as an ‘agressive retool’ to ‘stabilize the roster.’ Briere will work through the NHL Entry Draft, and Tortorella will help develop younger players when recalled to the NHL. It’ll be a deliberate and likely slow process, but not without caution. No one wants to go through a rebuild, but this front office isn’t pulling punches, and that is all Philadelphia wanted; blunt accountability.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)