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HomeHockeyPelle Lindbergh Remembered

Pelle Lindbergh Remembered

Initially written in November of 2013 by Shawn Reznick. Pelle Lindbergh was considered one of many best Flyers goalies. Right here now are some recollections of the star netminder.

Subsequent to Bernie Dad or mum, Pelle Lindbergh was the greatest goalie to play in a Philadelphia Flyers sweater.  He had the talent; he had the charisma; he had a ardour for Flyers hockey.

Philadelphia was driving a 10-game profitable streak early within the season. After beating the Bruins on Saturday November 10, the staff had six days off earlier than dealing with their latest rivals – Edmonton. The Flyers had been crushed by the Edmonton Oilers the 12 months earlier than within the Stanley Cup Closing.

Pelle Lindbergh Flyers
Pelle Lindbergh (THW Archives)

Pelle “Gump” Lindbergh was enjoying lights out and had lately gained the Vezina Trophy in the course of the 1984-85 season. The staff was destined for greatness, however straight away, the air escaped from the town of Philadelphia.

Pelle Lindbergh Crashes His Porsche

On that fateful Sunday morning, Lindbergh crashed his Porsche 930 Turbo right into a wall in Somerdale, New Jersey.  Hours later he was pronounced mind useless and was finally taken off life assist. A lot expertise, a lot promise, a lot hope…gone in a matter of moments.

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Invoice Meltzer, a long-time Flyers fan and HockeyBuzz journalist who wrote a ebook on Lindbergh’s life and the occasions main as much as his loss of life, vividly remembers listening to concerning the unlucky information:

I truly acquired a name from my greatest buddy to activate the tv to see Pelle Lindbergh was in a automotive accident – and this was earlier than they knew he was useless.  I keep in mind I requested him, ‘What channel?’ and he stated, ‘EVERY channel’.  And that’s after I realized it’s acquired to be actually unhealthy.  I’d watched the sport the evening earlier than so that you went from the staff being in the midst of an enormous profitable streak and the elation of that, after which to concern and devastation.  It wasn’t till a lot after that they mentioned what was concerned within the crash, however it was simply the shock and it simply being devastating.

Meltzer additionally remembers what he and different followers went by means of the week following Pelle’s deadly crash:

Everyone went by means of the identical gamut of feelings.  There was the elation of them profitable – they usually weren’t simply profitable, they had been rolling over groups.  They had been clicking.  That they had been within the Finals the 12 months earlier than that.  Within the locker room after the sport, Mark Howe instructed Jay Snider, that is the most effective staff I’ve ever been aside of – that was the evening earlier than the crash.  I believe at about 9:45pm on Saturday, I believe everybody actually felt this staff was going to win the Stanley Cup.  The following morning it was a kick within the intestine.  Pelle was such a well-liked participant anyway.  Had it been anybody on the staff it might’ve been terrible, shocked, and horrified.  However when it’s your Vezina profitable goaltender who was one of many two or three hottest guys on the staff, it was a type of issues like…’how do you keep on from there’.

Pelle Lindbergh Flyers Best Goalie
Swedish goalie Pelle Lindbergh (1959 – 1985) (born Goran Per-Eric Lindbergh), goalkeeper for the Philadelphia Flyers, eyes the puck in entrance of his web throughout a sport, early Nineteen Eighties. (Picture by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Pictures)

Should you’ve been across the Flyers lengthy sufficient, you undoubtedly know Bruce “Scoop” Cooper.  He’s been across the staff for the reason that Nineteen Seventies and has an unhealthy quantity of hockey information.  Scoop imparted on me an underlying motive why Lindbergh didn’t play towards the Boston Bruins in the course of the Flyers’ profitable streak:

I talked to [Pelle] a few hours earlier than he was killed.  They had been enjoying Boston that evening and it was a Saturday evening.  Bob Froese performed as a result of he was going to be traded to Los Angeles they usually needed to see him play yet another time.  [The Flyers’] subsequent sport wasn’t till the next Saturday towards Edmonton, which was a really uncommon factor as a result of that was the staff they’d misplaced to within the Finals the spring earlier than.

So Gump didn’t play.  Frosty performed after which [Lindbergh] was killed within the accident so the commerce by no means occurred.

Scoop additionally has an important reminiscence from the Maine Mariners, the AHL staff Lindbergh performed for earlier than being referred to as as much as Philadelphia:

We flew again on a constitution from Glens Falls to Portland and [Lindbergh] acquired on the PA system and began talking in Swedish.  Now there have been a pair Swedish gamers Thomas Eriksson and Kevin Cady was the coach who spoke Swedish.  They had been simply dying of laughter as a result of he was speaking concerning the stewardess in Swedish so no person else knew what he was saying.

Kevin Cady, as Scoop talked about earlier than, was the coach for the Maine Mariners who had befriended Pelle in his stint within the AHL. The 2 had been nice buddies so Pelle’s loss of life hit a bit of nearer to residence for Cady.  Cady recounts:

I used to be in Portland, Maine after I realized of the Pelle accident. I had been a Flyers tools supervisor for the previous two seasons however left on the finish of the prior season to develop into a police officer in my native Portland. I used to be 22 on the time and Pelle was 25. I final spoke to Pelle the week earlier than the crash when he instructed me the Flyer’s gamers needed me again with the staff.I didn’t assume then that that will ever materialize since I had determined to maneuver on to a brand new profession. I had been with the Flyers group since 1977 beginning with the AHL Maine Mariners.

I realized concerning the crash by way of ESPN and referred to as the Flyers coaches workplace in Voorhees, NJ. E.J. Maguire instructed me Pelle was, basically, useless. He was the primary individual to inform me of Pelle’s passing because the networks reported “grave situation” however not deceased.

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I instantly flew from Portland to Philly and was picked-up on the airport by John Prettyman, a Voorhees Township police lieutenant and likewise a buddy of Pelle.

We went on to the hospital the place I met with Kerstin Pietzch. She introduced me to Pelle’s room and she or he requested me to say goodbye to him because it was a matter of time. After I walked out of Pelle’s room Mike Keenan grabbed me in a bear hug and whispered “We misplaced Gump.” We broke down at that time and sobbed within the hallway.

I had spent elements of three summers with Pelle in Stockholm previous to 1985. He was most likely my greatest buddy on the time and he took me throughout Sweden enjoying in movie star soccer tournaments. Therefor I knew his dad and mom pretty properly; extra so than anybody in North America. Over the following few days Anna Lise and Kerstin approached me and requested to attend the funeral in Sweden. The Flyers (Mr. Snider) coated the price of the flights and I accompanied the household and Thomas Eriksson and his girlfriend Malin to Sweden with Pelle’s physique.

A number of days later we had been at Kerstin’s residence in Taby, Sweden having a small gathering on the eve of the funeral. Bob Clarke, Bernie Dad or mum, and jay Snider had been there. Bob Clarke, then basic supervisor, pulled me apart and stated he and the staff needed me to return to the Flyers as tools supervisor. I instantly accepted and Bob stated he would deal with the logisitics. I returned throughout December, 1985.

Cady additionally took me by means of the surreal expertise of not having Lindbergh within the locker room:

The staff rented a bus for Pelle’s memorial service in Philadelphia. I used to be on that bus with the gamers. It simply appeared like I belonged and wanted to be on the bus. After I returned to the locker room for work frequently the empty stall within the Spectrum and in Voorhees was a continuing visible reminder. In all honesty, I consider all of us went again to the hockey grind with Pelle’s loss to the staff being a continuing background static. Ultimately, I believe the gamers had been exhausted from the emotional burden on the finish of that tough season that we checked-out early and misplaced simply within the first spherical of the playoffs towards the NY Rangers.

The 2 had a particular bond.  Every time they acquired collectively they’d discover one thing to speak about or chortle about. You may’t summarize Lindbergh in a single phrase, sentence, or paragraph, however Cady did his greatest:

My favourite recollections of Pelle are too quite a few to put in writing about in a brief essay corresponding to this. I’d say that he was one of many gamers I hung-out with persistently in Maine and Philly. Additionally my time in Sweden has a bunch of recollections I nonetheless cherish as we speak. I didn’t care that he was an NHL goalie or Olympic medal winner. I used to be engaged on a day-to-day foundation with world class elite hockey gamers each day. A few of these athletes would go on to be inducted within the Hockey Corridor of Fame.

Pelle was merely a buddy who welcomed me into his life at residence. I maintained contact together with his Mother till she handed in 2011. Kerstin Pietzch and her household visited me in Maine in the course of the summer time of 2011. I nonetheless have common contact with Pelle’s greatest buddies and different family of his in Sweden.

In the present day, my oldest son Griffin – 16 years of age – is a goalie enjoying prep faculty highschool hockey. He’s a diehard Flyers fan and his quantity is 31. Maybe Pelle can be happy with him. I keep in mind Pelle telling me one time “I don’t assume being a goalie within the NHL is that massive a deal. If I can do it then you are able to do it.” Hmm, I’m unsure that’s the way it works Pelle.

Earlier than wrapping up, Cady had this to say:

One closing thought germane to this anniversary: I used to be with Pelle in the course of the summer time 1983 when he truly purchased the Porsche 911 turbo he was finally killed in.  We went to VAG Stockholm, a excessive finish automotive dealership, and Pelle took possession of the automotive.  I drove Kerstin’s automotive from the dealership again to Barnansgaten 24 with Pelle main the way in which.  My reminiscence of that is important as a result of the automotive was Pelle’s final demise.

Lindbergh was energetic. He captivated followers throughout the game, however Philadelphia at all times had a particular place in Lindergh’s coronary heart courting again to his Hammarby days in Sweden. His idol, was Bernie, who turned Lindbergh’s mentor. He went by means of the highs and lows, however left all the things out on the ice.

His quantity 31 will eternally be unofficially retired by the Flyers. And on November eleventh, we keep in mind Pelle – the goalie, the participant, the individual.



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