Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Written by Neal Goulet
Philadelphia Flyer Bill Barber wore the captain's C for the 1981-82 season -- and a pair of black Cooperalls pants.
Named for equipment company Cooper, Cooperalls replaced the traditional hockey shorts and socks. The Flyers were the only National Hockey League team that wore them that first season; the Hartford Whalers followed suit in 1982-83. After that season, the National Hockey League banned their use, in part because of safety concerns.
As it turned out, Cooperalls created less friction than than shorts-and-socks combination, resulting in players sliding into the boards with greater force. There also was some sentiment that the long pants just didn't look very good.
But while Cooperalls are long gone, they are hardly forgotten. Just check out the blog Flyers Goal Scored By, which is run by self-described "Flyers expats" Ryan Lochhead and Fran Devinney, who live in Brooklyn, N.Y. This summer, the blog started offering its own line of Flyers tribute T-shirts, including one with "COO-PER-ALLS" spelled out across three lines.
"The Cooperalls are just embarrassing to no end," Lochhead explained. "You just have to take something like that and embrace it a little bit."
You can embrace one of the orange shirts for $18.40.
A pair of Cooperalls: priceless.