Tue May 18 09:30am EDT
The behavior of Philadelphia sports fans is legendary. From cheering Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin's neck injury to throwing batteries at then St. Louis Cardinals outfielder J.D. Drew to one guy challenging Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi to a fight over the penalty box glass, the passion in the "City of Brotherly Love" is always intense when it comes to sports.
The latest example played out as the Eastern Conference finals series between the Flyers and Montreal Canadiens kicked off in Philadelphia on Sunday night, as Montreal Gazette sports writer Pat Hickey had his car -- a 1999 Honda Accord with 565,000 km and Quebec license plates -- vandalized during Game 1.
Hickey returned to his car after the game to find a tire slashed, a hubcap broken in two and his windows covered in beer. The worst offense? His license plate had been stolen, causing Hickey to spend part of Monday in a Philadelphia police department filing a theft report.
Fanhouse's Chris Botta caught up with Hickey on Monday and the veteran sportswriter was in good spirits about the entire incident:
"There are a lot of good people in Philadelphia who were very helpful to me after the damage was done," said Hickey, a sportswriter for 45 years. "So I don't want to forget about them. It was just a couple of Flyers fans who got me good, I guess. I'll live."
"On his way to the podium today for the press conference," said Hickey, "(Montreal coach) Jacques Martin said, 'Hey Pat, you got a car I can borrow?' Who said the coach doesn't have a sense of humor"?
Hickey himself wrote about the incident in a piece Tuesday morning in the Gazette and ended it with a shot at Philadelphia fans whose behavior has tainted the city for decades:
"The attitude of some Philly fans — I have a lot of friends in the city and made some new ones on this trip — was in stark contrast to the fans in Washington and Pittsburgh who were gracious throughout the first two rounds of the series and far more civil than the Montreal fans who booed the U.S. anthem.
"Prior to Game 1, the Flyers passed out T-shirts with the motto: Relentless in the pursuit of history.
"Relentless in the pursuit of idiocy would be a better slogan for a city whose history includes abusing Santa Claus."
There weren't stories of any reporters from Washington or Pittsburgh having their cars vandalized in the first two rounds. Canadiens fans, meanwhile, celebrated both peacefully and not so peacefully after beating both the Penguins and Capitals -- something that has been attached to the city of Montreal for years.
Botta notes that because of what happened to Hickey, the Flyers may open up the press parking to all media, instead of just Philadelphia-based scribes.