Canada prides itself as being the birthplace of hockey. They provide 50% of the players to the NHL, the best professional league in the world. Growing up in a small town in Canada you grow up playing hockey. After school heading to the closest pond, shoveling the snow off the ice and playing till dusk. Hockey is in your DNA, it is piped into your blood. Born in Regina, Saskatchewan Canada, our #16 Best Athlete in Philly, is Canadian through and through. #16 on our list is Flyers left winger Scott Hartnell.
Hartsy, as he is so affectionately known, has been a Philadelphia Flyers since June 18, 2007 when he was traded to the city of Brotherly Love, along with veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen. The Nashville Predators traded away two of their best players for a 1st round draft pick.
After years of success the Flyers were coming off of a woeful year, in 2006, finishing the season with a 22-48-12 record and holding the 2nd pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 1994 and set team records for most losses and fewest points.
Holding the 2nd and the 23rd pick in the 2007 draft the Flyers dealt the 23rd pick to Nashville to bolster a team that struggled mightily. Catching the Predators in a financially bad time the Flyers robbed them blind of their team captain and star left winger. With the #2 pick the Flyers selected LW James VanRiemsdyk. The Predators with the 23rd pick selected defenseman Jon Blum, currently in the AHL. Not a bad draft for the Flyguys!
Hartsy is a gritty power forward. At 6’2 215 lbs he is exactly the type of hockey player that Flyers fans love. He’s tough, hard-nosed, works hard and skates even harder. You can always find him positioning around the net, feasting off of rebounds and deflections. A sound defensive forward who is not afraid to hit and mix it up if need be. He is a character in the clubhouse and his personality is infectious.
His hustle and nonstop play will often result in #19 falling down on the ice. In fact he falls down an awful lot! So much that “Hartnell down” has become a twitter frenzy with the hash tag #Hartnelldown trending more than the Kardashians. Created by a fan it has gained steam over the last couple months, even being backed by Hartsy himself. You can even buy #Hartnelldown t-shirts and beanies at the www.hartnelldown.com website. All proceeds go to his Hartnell Down Foundation which helps send kids to hockey camps and also supports his charity golf tournament. During the All-Star game in February Hartsy donated $1,000 to the charity every time he fell down.
#hartnelldown t-shirts support his charity
"People have been so great to support this foundation and I'm just ready to keep rolling with this and see how much money we can actually raise," Hartnell said.
Hartnell was the 6th overall pick of the Predators in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft and became the youngest player in franchise history to play in Nashville. Thankfully due to financial woes Hartnell was dealt to Philadelphia in 2007. He has been a Philly staple ever since. His first season in Philly in 2008-2009 he posted career highs in all scoring categories. Registering 30 goals and 30 assists in 82 games.
Despite a down year statistically in the regular season in 2009-2010 Hartsy was a beast in the playoffs leading the Flyers to an Eastern Conference title and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. In 23 playoff games Hartsy scored 8 goals, 2 in game 6 of the finals, and 9 assists.
Currently in the 2011-2012 season Hartsy is the Flyers leading goal scorer with 32 goals, and second on the team in points with 60 behind Claude Giroux. He also leads the team in power play goals, is second in shots, and tied for second with 4 game winning goals. Good enough for Hartsy to be named an All-Star for the first time in his career. At first an All-Star snub he was added late as an injury substitution. Well deserving for the league’s sixth leading scorer at the break. Hartsy deserved the nod from the beginning.
“He’s had a tremendous year for us,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “I think he’s a very important piece, not only on the ice, but in the locker room as well. He’s a glue guy, he brings people together, brings teams together. He’s got a great personality, and his play on the ice this year has been terrific.”
The Broad Street Bully Bobby Clarke
He is a go to guy on a very talented Flyers team. He is a throwback to the Broad Street Bully days. A tough minded scrapper who can score the puck and put you on the ice at the same time. His red headed curly hair remind you of the days of Bobby Clarke. Despite not being the “star” on the team Hartsy is just as important to this Flyers team as anyone else on the ice or off. He creates space for other goal scores like G and Jagr to score and is always in the right place at the right time.
Hartsy is the first Flyer to appear on BLN’s Top 20 Best Athlete in Philly countdown and won’t be the last. He embodies Philadelphia and even calls Old City home. Hartsy is the heart of the Flyers, a phan favorite and is well deserving of the #16 spot on the countdown.