PSWA ALL-TIME GREATS DINNER MAY 2, 2022 ADDS FLYERS ICONS BILL BARBER, JOE AND JIMMY WATSON, DICK VERMEIL, CARLI LLOYD, DOUG COLLINS AND MARK HOWE ALREADY CONFIRMED
More all-time Philly sports greats continue to join the dais for the 117th Philadelphia Sports Writers Association banquet on its new date, Monday May 2. This year’s dinner, as previously announced, will be a special celebration of all-time Philly sports greats at the DoubleTree By Hilton Cherry Hill (formerly the Crowne Plaza). PSWA President Jon Marks announced today that Flyers Hall of Famer Bill Barber, along with defensemen Joe and Jimmy Watson, will take their places among the honored guests.
The Flyers selected Barber with the No. 7 pick of the 1972 NHL Draft and he was quickly called up to the NHL and made his NHL debut at left wing with an assist against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 29, 1972. He led all NHL rookies in 1972-73 with 64 points and tied Steve Vickers of the New York Rangers for the rookie lead with 30 goals. Barber finished second to Vickers in voting for the Calder Trophy as the League’s top rookie.
Barber started the 1973-74 season at left wing on a line with center Bobby Clarke and right wing Bill Flett, and all helped carry the Flyers to their first Stanley Cup championship. Barber scored three goals in 17 playoff games, including the game-winner against the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the Final.
Barber’s outstanding play continued into next season as he helped the Flyers win the Stanley Cup for a second straight season. Barber set career highs in 1975-76, with 50 goals and 112 points. He also became the first Flyer with 400 career goals in 1983.A leg injury ended his careen prematurely in 1984. His 420 goals are the most goals in Flyers team history. His iconic number 7 was retired by the team in 1990, the same year he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Joe and Jimmy Watson were also part of the Flyers’ two Stanley Cup champions. Joe came to Philly in the 1967 expansion draft, an original Flyer. His brother Jimmy arrived in 1972. The elder Watson spent the next 11 seasons with the Flyers, making the All-Star game in 1974 and 1977. Joe was also voted the first recipient of the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers’ best defenseman following the 1974-75 season. Jimmy was known as one of the league’s leading defensemen, making the NHL All-Star team each season from 1975 to 1978 and again in 1980. Both players are in the Flyers Hall of Fame.
This illustrious trio will join already-announced honoree Carli Lloyd, the soccer great and two-time FIFA World Cup Champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, and two-time FIFA Women’s Player of the Year. Former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil will also be in Cherry Hill, recently elected to the NFL Hall of Fame and acknowledged as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game; Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Howe, whose time in Philadelphia defined his storied career. Howe, the son of hockey legend Gordie Howe, is identified as the best defenseman in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers; and all-time 76ers great Doug Collins, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1973, selected by the Sixers. He spent eight years with the team, garnering four NBA All-Star selections until injuries slowed his career. He rejoined the 76ers as head coach in 2010. Villanova great Andy Talley will not be at the dinner due to a last-minute conflict.
Even more prominent area legends will be announced in the coming week.
The 117th Philadelphia Sports Writers Association Banquet will take place on May 2 2022, at the DoubleTree by Hilton (formerly the Crowne Plaza) in Cherry Hill. Tickets are $95 and can be purchased online at https://phillysportswriters.com/buy-banquet-tickets/. Social hour begins at 5 p.m. with doors to the main ballroom opening at 6.