Although Paul Holmgren will maintain an advisory position with the Flyers, Thursday’s announcement that he will step down as team president of hockey operations marks the end of an era.
Holmgren, who will be succeeded by Chuck Fletcher (the team’s general manager) in the president’s chair, has served Philadelphia’s hockey team as player, assistant coach, head coach, assistant general manager, general manager and president.
Now he’s decided to move aside and become a senior advisor to Dave Scott, Comcast Spectacor chairman, CEO and governor of the Flyers.
The Flyers say he will support the team’s leadership in this new role, utilizing his unparalleled level of experience and strong relationships throughout the league. Under the new leadership structure, Fletcher takes on the new title of president and will report directly to Scott.
“It’s been an honor to serve this franchise in many different roles throughout my life and I look forward to this next chapter,” said Holmgren. “I approached Dave about my idea to step aside to spend more time with my family. I have complete confidence in Chuck in his new role, leading the Flyers to great things.
“The Flyers have given so much to me and my family over the years, and I have forged life-long friendships with the many players, coaches, employees and fans who have helped me make Philadelphia home for over 40 years. I would like to thank Dave and Chuck for their efforts to lead this franchise into a bright future and for their continued confidence in me as I take on this new role.”
Scott praised Holmgren’s contributions to the team.
“Paul has been an invaluable leader within the Flyers family for more than 40 years, and instrumental in placing the organization in a strong position for future success,” said Scott. “Paul has earned a place among the organization’s all-time greats and certainly fits the role exemplified by our late Chairman, Ed Snider: ‘A Flyer Forever.’”
Holmgren was chiefly responsible for hiring Fletcher last November to replace Ron Hextall, so there should be a good relationship moving forward.
“I want to thank Paul for his leadership and passion as we work to build a championship caliber team,” said Fletcher. “I’ve known Paul for many years and it’s been a privilege to work with him over the last several months, and I will continue to seek his counsel. The Philadelphia Flyers are a storied franchise and have become an iconic brand since their inception.
“Paul’s service to the organization, in every capacity, is a big reason for that success. I also look forward to working more directly with Dave as we strive to achieve our goal of bringing the Stanley Cup back to Philadelphia.”
The 2018-19 season marked Holmgren’s 40th year as a member of the Flyers organization. He is the only individual in the franchise’s history to serve the organization as a player (1975-1984), assistant coach (1985-88), head coach (1988-92), general manager (2006-14) and president (2014-19). He also spent time as the team’s director of pro scouting from 1995 to 1999 and assistant general manager from 1999 to 2006.
Holmgren, 64, was part of five Flyers Stanley Cup finalist teams – twice as a player (1976, 1980), once as an assistant coach (1987), and two more in the front office in 1997 and 2010. As general manager in 2009-10, Holmgren saw his team make one of the most remarkable runs in franchise history by qualifying for the playoffs on the last day of the season before dispatching New Jersey, Boston and Montreal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to reach the Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Flyers followed up that season with a 47-win campaign and a division title in 2010-11, and again posted a 47-win season in 2011-12 after Holmgren dramatically reshaped the team’s roster during the offseason. Those two seasons marked the franchise’s most wins in a two-season period since 1985-87.
Holmgren’s journey with the Flyers began when the team drafted him from the University of Minnesota in the sixth round of the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft. He made his NHL debut on March 25, 1975 at the Spectrum vs. the New York Rangers, the first of 500 games he played for the Flyers through 1984. His Flyers totals include 138 goals and 171 assists for 309 points, as well as 1,600 penalty minutes, which are the second-most in franchise history.
His distinguished career includes extensive work with USA Hockey, a tenure that even surpasses that of his time with the Flyers. In 2014, he received the Lester Patrick Trophy in recognition of his outstanding service to hockey in the United States.
Fletcher joined the Flyers as vice president and general manager on Dec. 3, 2018, becoming the ninth general manager in franchise history. Over the course of his 25-year career, Fletcher has held senior-level managerial and advisory positions with the New Jersey Devils, Minnesota Wild, Pittsburgh Penguins, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Florida Panthers. He has advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals with three different franchises (Florida, Anaheim and Pittsburgh) and won a Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009.