Why Sami Kapanen Was My Flyers Hero

Aaron ArcherCorrespondent IJune 4, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 15:  Sami Kapanen #24 of the Philadelphia Flyers plays against the Pittsburgh Penguins during game four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wachovia Center on May 15, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers won the game 4-2 and trial the series 3-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Today I was browsing Youtube when I came across a video that I've seen many times before, but always manages to make me both cringe and feel heartbroken. I assume most of you have seen this video before if you've searched Flyers videos on Youtube.

This video is the one showing the bone-crunching check on Sami Kapanen by Darcy Tucker (of the Maple Leafs) back in the '03-'04 Stanley Cup playoffs.

I always feel so sorry for Kapanen because firstly, he was always my favourite Flyers player from when I started to follow the game, up until he left the Flyers. Secondly, the only way you could possibly describe his attempt at getting back to his feet would be "Bambi, on ice."

I've just read an article called 'Becoming a Flyers Fan Is Easy As 1-2-3' by Stan Miller who says "The hairs on the back of your neck should stand straight when you see any score involving the Flyers" which I totally agree with. This goes further than just hairs standing up on my neck when I see a Flyers score. It's that heart sinking feeling that comes with seeing any sort of hockey clip that contains a Flyers player on the losing end of a big hit.

I'm sure everyone, regardless of team would agree that seeing one of your team's players being totally wiped out by a really heavy, legal hit. Because, of course if someone takes a penalty from hitting your player, it's somewhat worth the hurt he's going through.

As I mentioned not long ago, Sami Kapanen was always my favourite Flyers player. Just like why I chose the Flyers, I again can't describe what it was that pulled me his way, like iron-filings to a magnet. Nonetheless, since I've become a hockey fan the number '24' has become my favourite number and if I'm ever asked, Sami Kapanen is my all time hockey hero.

I'm only ever stumped when I'm asked why, because yes, there were greater players out there. So once again I'm looking like a completely random chooser.

I'll admit, both my choices of the Flyers and Sami Kapanen were somewhat random at the time, but on reflection of my last five years of being a fan of both I can tell you that I don't regret either.

I expect to get some sort of comments from Pens fans telling me that the Flyers are a joke, they haven't won the Stanley Cup since the '74-'75 season, but I will tell them this, over and over again, I'm OK with that.