By Nick Tricome
Many are the players themselves, with their humorous personalities going hand-in-hand with their performance on the ice. Guys like Jeremy Roenick and Scott Hartnell to name a couple from Flyers history.
But then there are the fans who manage to find their way on to jumbotrons and TV screens, and almost become a staple of their favorite team. There are the Vancouver Green Men, and one that both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia know well, Cy Clark, a.k.a the 'Hulk Hogan Guy.'
Sadly, Clark passed away last week due to complications from cancer. He was 53.
Clark is probably best known for taunting the Flyers during their 6-4 win over the Penguins at the Consol Energy Center on April 1, 2012.
The Flyers had a secure 6-3 lead with just over a minute left in the third, when the Penguins sent their checking line out and Joe Vitale laid out a hard open ice hit on Danny Briere.
The hit led to a brawl on open the ice, while Peter Laviolette stood atop the boards and yelled furiously at Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. And throughout the whole thing, was a Penguins fan, a Hulk Hogan look-alike, dawning an Evgeni Malkin jersey and a bandanna that read "Malkamania," jawing at Laviolette and the rest of the Flyers' bench.
Scott Hartnell took notice and responded with his own Hogan impersonation...
The Flyers and the Penguins don't like each other. That is about the most obvious thing that can be said about one of the top rivalries in the NHL. But whether you're a Flyers fan or a Penguins fan, Clark is a shining example of why it's awesome to be a fan in the first place.
Sure, the players are a big part of creating those memorable moments. They score the amazing goals, make the incredible saves, deliver the bone-jarring hits. But at the same time, the fans helps make those moments what they are.
What is a game-winner without a roar from the crowd? A blown call without a shower of boos, or chants of "Ref you suck!" and "A--HOLE!"? Or a fight without every person in the arena sitting on the edge of their seat and the ones in the front row banging on the glass?
The fans add emotion. They add energy, and throw humor in there too. And sometimes, like in Clark's case, they even become part of the storyline. After all, that guy coming to Penguins games dressed up like Hulk Hogan got the real Hulk Hogan to cut a promo.
After another Flyers/Penguins brawl...
He was a Penguins fan, but Cy Clark was a great hockey fan in general. He was at the Penguins first game in 1967, and went after everyone under his Hulk Hogan persona, not just the Flyers. He had a Rick DiPietro jersey with "Fragile" on the back of it, and NBC's Pierre McGuire wasn't spared either.
So even if you're a die-hard Flyers fan, one that can't even stand the sight of black and gold, you have to show respect to Cy Clark.
Antagonistic? Yeah. But also a unique way to display hockey fandom. He also had a part in what made that first round playoff series in 2012 so memorable.
When the Flyers go on the road to play Pittsburgh, there will definitely be something missing behind the bench.
(Cover Photo taken by Gene J. Puskar for the Associated Press and from TheStar.com)
(Hartnell GIF from TheScore.com)