Paul Holmgren has worn so many hats during his hockey career in Philadelphia they might as well call him “Mr. Flyer.’’
He’s the only man to ever play for the team, serve as an assistant coach, head coach, assistant general manager, general manager and president.
Holmgren, a St. Paul, Minnesota native, has also served the United States hockey program in many roles throughout the years.
On Thursday, he was honored for that work by being named to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2021.
Holmgren joins an illustrious list of ex-Flyers enshrined in the U.S. Hall of Fame, including Tony Amonte, Derian Hatcher, Mark Howe, John LeClair, Jeremy Roenick and John Vanbiesbrouck, along with TV announcer Mike Emrick, assistant coach Joe Mullen and team founder Ed Snider.
“I am deeply humbled and enormously grateful to be bestowed this honor by USA Hockey,” said Holmgren. “Growing up in Minnesota, and reflecting as far back as I can remember, United States hockey is a program that I have looked up to and always strived to be a part of. I am incredibly proud to have had the fortune to wear and represent the Red, White, and Blue during each and every occasion I have been asked. I would also like to extend a congratulations to each of the other inductees, all of which I am honored to be included in a class with.”
Everyone in the Flyers organization was pleased to hear the news.
“Both on and off the ice, Paul Holmgren has made incredible contributions to the sport of hockey, and on behalf of the Philadelphia Flyers, we congratulate Paul on this special, well-deserved honor,” said Dave Scott, governor of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Holmgren is currently serving as the Flyers senior advisor as part of a remarkable 40-year tenure with the organization that has spanned nearly every role with the team.
As mentioned, he is the only individual in the franchise’s history to serve the Flyers 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 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.
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, 1976 at the Spectrum vs. the New York Rangers, the first of 500 games he played for the Flyers through 1984.
He was a member of the Flyers during their historic 35-game unbeaten streak and Stanley Cup Final appearance during the 1979-80 season, when he scored a career-high 30 goals, and during the team’s appearance in the Final, he became the first U.S. born player to score a hat trick in a Stanley Cup Final game.
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, and he was named to the 1981 NHL All-Star Game.
Holmgren’s distinguished career with the Flyers is perhaps only surpassed by his extensive work and dedication to the USA Hockey program.
In 1974, as a 19-year-old, Holmgren was a member of the U.S. Junior national team at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships and played for the United States at the 1981 Canada Cup Tournament.
Holmgren served as the general manager of the 2006 U.S. Men’s National Team as well as the assistant general manager of both the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team and Team USA at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Behind the bench, Holmgren served as an assistant coach for Team USA at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. He was selected to join the U.S. Men’s National Team Advisory Group in 2009, which was formed in February of 2007 to assist USA Hockey with the selection of players and staff of U.S. Men’s National Teams, including the Olympic Team.
In 2014, Holmgren received the Lester Patrick Trophy in recognition of his outstanding service to hockey in the United States.