When I first came to the Flyers, all of us from Canada were on short-term visas and one place where we could get six-month leases was the Barrington Manor Apartments—not all that far from where the Flyers practiced in Voorhees. Some players were able to find short-term leases in the city, but it was just easier in Barrington. There were a lot of Navy people and other transients, so it was comfortable for us.
The people were nice to us, so South Jersey became home. I bought a house in the early 1970s in Mount Ephraim, right on the main street, Kings Highway. But then when we won the Stanley Cup [in 1974 and 1975], it became a little too public. The bars would close up and all the young kids decided to stop over. So we bought a house in Cherry Hill.
That house, though, became a little too private. We lived in Wilderness Acres, which was beautiful, the home and an acre-and-a-half in a wooded area. But we discovered we liked neighbors, so we sold that and bought a house in Moorestown. The kids, I have four, went to the Friends school there and then the public high school, where they played sports and all. We left for Minnesota and Florida when I had jobs there, then when we came back to the Flyers, we first went back to Moorestown and, after the kids were finished with school, to Haddonfield.
I think a lot of the hockey players find living in South Jersey very comfortable. Most players are modest and like the idea that they can walk down the streets and be part of the community. The people have been good neighbors to us and allow us to be parents just like them. A lot of the Flyers have come to Haddonfield because of the good schools and the small-town atmosphere, which is a lot like most of them had growing up.
Every morning, I go to the Westmont Diner, and people join me. It’s a tradition, and whether the team is winning or not, people seem to have fun with it. Manitoba is a long time ago now. We’ve been here in South Jersey 40 years, so this is home and we’re staying.
A native of Flin Flon, Manitoba, Bob Clarke was known as Bobby when he arrived as a rookie with the Philadelphia Flyers in 1969. He was the captain for the Flyers’ two Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1974 and 1975 and currently serves as a team senior vice president.
As told to Robert Strauss.Click here to leave a comment