Blogs > In The Room with Anthony SanFilippo

Daily Times beat writer Anthony J. SanFilippo takes you inside the locker rooms of the Philadelphia Flyers and the rest of the NHL.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


For the old time Flyers' fan:

Had a chance to chat before the game with Bob Clarke about what Barry Ashbee meant to him and the Flyers organization. Here is the transcription:

>You’ve had a photo of Ashbee in your office all these years. Obviously he meant a lot to you. Are his values still with you today?

“Well, the values of team play were. . .well, I mean besides courage, he played with all kinds of injuries. He had back surgery and all that kind of stuff. Team play was the biggest thing for Barry and everybody should be treated the same.
“And I think that attitude was what I was taught in junior (Flin Flon Bombers) but he confirmed that it was right for hockey. For me, I was 21 or 22 when he first came along. You’re still doubting what’s right and what’s wrong at that age. He really confirmed to me that it’s about everybody. And everybody is the same. He was an All-Star.

“I remember Shero used to line us up at the goal line – I was starting to play quite a bit. He was playing quite a bit. Freddie would go down the line when he was going to skate us. He would go, ‘Clarkie, you can go in, Barber you can go in… Ashbee, you don’t need to skate.’ One day I was standing next to Barry and Freddie says that to Barry and Barry says, ‘(Bleep) you, Freddie! As long as these guys can skate, I can skate!’ Nobody left the ice after that."

>Any recent players remind you of him?

“I’m not in the locker room so I don’t really know that much. I think a guy like Ian Laperriere was a lot like Ashbee. The ability to play hard every single night. To play through injuries. . .(Ashbee) had back surgery, that’s why the Bruins let him go. They didn’t think he was ever going to play again. He had the neck thing, too, he wrecked up his neck… had to wear that collar around his neck, couldn’t turn his head. But he always played, wouldn’t miss a practice. He was one of those strictly team guys. Tough man."

>You told me recently that you wouldn’t mind if someone wore No. 16 again. But I’m guessing you wouldn’t feel the same way about No. 4… that it’s untouchable.

“I sure hope it is. Maybe it’s personal. For me he was so special. And then losing his life at such a young age. I think he would have been a great coach. He was a good assistant but I think he would have been a great coach. He never got a chance to do that. He might have been more important as a coach than he was as a player. We’ll never know it. For me, you could use Bernie’s number, you could use Billy’s number, you could use my number.
“We’ve been honored so often and so much. I think it would be good if someone else wore those numbers. I don’t think Barry’s ever should be worn again."

>Thirty years have gone by – do you think you will get emotional tonight?

“Oh yeah, absolutely. When something like this happens, it just brings back the good memories.The day he got leukemia we were showering here at the building, the morning skate. Terry Crisp, myself and him in the shower and Crispy goes, ‘Barry, you’ve got those black and blue marks all over your legs.’ He said, ‘Crispy, I think I’ve got leukemia.’ And Crispy goes, ‘Don’t be so (bleeping) stupid to say something like that.’ But Barry knew, he read up on it. He had the symptoms, besides the black and blue, he knew. And by game time he went to the hospital. The doctor told him: ‘You’re in trouble.’ It was scary."

Notes: Ashbee died a month after that exchange in the shower... also, this interview was not exclusive to the Daily Times as two other media outlets were present for the interview.


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