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Philly 2 Philly Features: Brian Propp

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Philly2Philly.com's Ryan Downs catches up with the former Flyers All Star, and he offers a glimpse into the life and experiences of a star athlete, successful businessman, devoted family man, and avid philanthropist.

RD: Where did the Guffaw originate?

BP: The Guffaw originated from a Howie Mandel show in Atlantic City in 1986. I was at the show with Scott McKay and when Howie Mandel told everyone in the crowd to do the Guffaw for the next comedian instead of clapping, cheering or whistling I immediately liked the idea. The Guffaw was a hand movement with a small twist at the start and then extending to the roof. Everyone says “Guffaw” as they are doing it. I thought it was hysterical but also thought it would be a great idea for the next hockey season for after I scored goals. I wanted to show my excitement, personality and love of scoring goals with the Guffaw movement.

I used to do the Guffaw all summer long with Scott McKay when I would see him at 34th street where he was a lifeguard. I said I was going to do the Guffaw the next hockey season. The next hockey season I remembered the Guffaw and during the regular season when I scored my first goal, I used the Guffaw and the rest is history. I have a great video of the Guffaw with the whole story on my
brianpropp.com web site.

RD: Who was your biggest hockey influence as a kid? Is there a particular player that you aspired to become?

BP: The biggest hockey influence when I was young was my Dad, Rev. Propp. He made sure that I knew the basics of the game and taught me to think about where the puck was going to be rather than reacting to where it went. He showed me how to be sportsmanlike but also how to have a bit of an edge to have the will to win. My family used to watch Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays and I didn't have a favorite team but I did like the way Jean Beliveau played because of his smooth skating and great playmaking ability.

RD: Who was the best player you ever played with or against?

BP: The best player I played with over my 15 year career is a tough question as I had the
opportunity to play with a lot of top players in the league. Here is my list of best players I played
with: Bob Clarke (leadership), Mark Howe (skating and ability), Brad McCrimmon (defensive
best), Tim Kerr (goal scorer), Mike Modano (speed and talent), Ray Bourque (two-way player,
leadership) and Chris Pronger (raw talent developed over the years). I also played in the Canada
Cup in 1987 on the same line as Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. Say no more.

RD: Who was the best Captain you played with in the NHL? Which player was a quiet leader?

BP: I played with some great captains but for most of my career it was Dave Poulin that did an
outstanding job. He knew how to balance the hockey, media, family, team members and
management. He had a great way of carrying himself and understanding the captain role.

RD: Who was your favorite coach to play for?

BP: I enjoyed playing for Mike Keenan because he wanted to win every game. He would do his
best to accomplish that even if it meant playing two lines to try to win. He was hard on the
players but that's the way a coach should be. He was always trying to prepare us for situations
that can affect the outcome of the game whether it was mental, physical or distractions.

RD: Did you have a favorite arena to play in?

BP: I loved playing in Madison Square Garden, Montreal Forum and Chicago Stadium. Madison
Square Garden still had a great atmosphere and I always wanted to keep that crowd out of the
game by beating the Rangers. Montreal had such history and an aura about it that it was a thrill to
play there. Chicago Stadium was the loudest place to play in and it always made me be ready for
the games played there because you didn't want them to fire up the loud horn when they scored.

RD: Are you going to miss the Spectrum? What are your fondest memories of the building?

BP: I am going to miss the Spectrum. I played in the NHL from 1979 to 1995 so all of my games
in the NHL were at the Spectrum. I scored my first and last goal in the Spectrum. My first goal
was in my first game with the Flyers and my last goal was my 1,000th NHL point when I was
with the Hartford Whalers. My memories of the Spectrum are the fans. I knew where 40 or 50
season ticket holders sat and would acknowledge them during the game. The Flyers were in the
playoffs every year that I was with them and I'll never forget my Game 6 Stanley Cup finals goal
against the Oilers in 1987 that tied the game at 2 -2. We won that game to force game 7.

RD: Was it intimidating to be a rookie amongst all those veteran players and on such a
successful team during that memorable 1979-1980 season?

BP: I came to the Flyers in 1979 and they had great players like Bob Clarke, Bill Barber, Bob
Kelly, Rick MacLeish, Ken Linseman and Mel Bridgman. I wasn't intimidated because they all
helped me feel like a part of the team. We ended up having a 35 game undefeated streak that year
because our team was so balanced. That is a feat that will never be broken in hockey again.

RD: Describe what it was like that season to be a part of the longest unbeaten streak in North
American professional sports.

BP: I remember that we were cruising along with our streak and then when we were at 20 games,
the press really started to take notice. Every game from that point on was amazing as every team
was trying to beat us like it was the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals. We played as a
team and always had the attitude that we could win every game. There were a lot of great leaders
on that team and that's why we took the streak to 35 games. It is still an awesome memory for me
today.

RD: It’s been two decades since that vicious injury you suffered at the hands of Chris Chelios.
Do you still harbor as much resentment toward him as many Flyers fans always will?

BP: A lot of people still hate Chris Chelios because of the vicious hit from behind on me in the
playoffs of 1989. I still resent the hit because I know it was on purpose. I was the leading scorer
in the playoffs that year and even though we won game 1, we lost the series and I feel that I
could have been the difference in that series. He did come from behind, left his feet and
purposely elbowed me to the head. That would have been a 20 - 25 game suspension today and
he got away without even a penalty. He's been a great player over the years but I see him too
often slashing, cross checking and hitting players that are the skill players on other teams and
then skating away when the tougher players approach.

RD: Of the five Stanley Cup Finalists you played for over the years, which team was the best, in
your opinion? Which, if any, do you feel should have hoisted the Cup?

BP: I was in 5 Stanley Cup Finals but came away empty handed. When I look back the two best
chances were in 1979-80 when the Flyers lost game 6 in Long Island in overtime. The Flyers still
had a lot of Cup winners from 1974 and 1975 with the experience to win. Bob Clarke, Bill
Barber, Reggie Leach, Rick MacLeish, Bob Kelly along with Mel Bridgman, Ken Linseman and
Paul Holmgren gave us enough talent to win. In 1989-90 playing for the Boston Bruins against
Edmonton we lost that series in 5 but lost the first game in triple overtime which gave Edmonton
the advantage they needed. Boston had finished number one overall in the League that year and
had all the components to win. Edmonton's goalie (Bill Ranford) was the difference.

RD: What led you to finally hang up the skates for good? What made you decide to stay in the
greater Philadelphia area when your playing days were over?

BP: I decided after my season with the Hartford Whalers in 1994 to stop playing in the NHL. I
had accomplished 1,000 games and 1,000 points at the end of the season with them and with all
of my playoff runs, I felt it was time to move on. I did play a year in France as the player coach
and then returned to South Jersey. I stayed in the South Jersey area because my wife and her
family were from there. I also had a lot of job opportunities because I had been in the area for so
long. I started by building and running the Medford Ice Rink in 1996 to 1999. I was the Flyer
radio color analyst from 1999 to 2008. I worked as a financial planner with Harbor Lights
Financial Group from 2004 to 2008. I now work for Crawford Advisors (Broker/Consultant for
employee health Benefits) since January of 2008.

Learn more about what I am doing by visiting and signing up to my www.brianpropp.com web site.

RD: Which current NHL player do you most enjoy watching? Why?

BP: I love watching Alexander Ovechkin play today. He has it all: hitting, passing, shooting,
scoring, excitement. He is two way player and good with the media. The other players I love to
watch are Mike Richards, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarret Stoll (both of us from the same
small town- Neudorf, Saskatchewan) and Chris Pronger.

RD: You are in select company as a 1,000 point scorer in the NHL. Is the possibility of being
inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame something that ever crosses on your mind?

BP: When I look at the description of who should be in the NHL Hall of Fame I feel that I have a
few of the qualities that they are looking for. I was able to be a consistent player and scorer my
whole career so I achieved 1,000 games, 1,000 points, 400 goals and ended up being plus 310
but I am prouder of my playoff statistics. I am in the top 30 in the history of the game for goals,
assists, points and games played. I think that if you look at my Junior career where I was picked
as the top left wing in Canadian Junior Hockey history, my entire NHL career and starting a
hockey rink in South Jersey helping children getting started in hockey, then working almost 10
years as the Flyer Radio Color analyst along with being a constant hockey ambassador for the
Flyers at all of the charities I'm involved with that I might have a chance to be considered.

RD: Do you have any thoughts to offer on the tragic passing of your former teammate Peter
Zezel?

BP: Peter Zezel was a great man. I played 6 years with Peter with the Flyers from 1984 to 1988.
Peter matured every year and was always available to talk to the fans, be a part of charity work
and play as a team player for his teammates. It's a shame that he had the blood disorder that took
his life too early but we all have many great memories of Peter and that's how I will remember
him.

RD: Outside of hockey, what are your key interests?

BP: My favorite things outside of hockey are my family. I have been blessed with my beautiful
wife, Kris and our two children, Paige and Jackson. I am coaching Paige and Jackson on the
same ice hockey team, they are involved with soccer, sailing, golf and singing in our church
choir. I also enjoy playing golf, reading and helping charities. I am on the Board of NHS Human
Services, Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point, Burlington County Military Affairs
Committee and I am the Campaign Chair for the United Way of Camden County. I believe in
giving back to the community.

RD: Tell us a little about Curvsports

BP: Curvsports is a company started to help former and active athletes. We are in the start up
phase and have about 24 athletes involved right now. The athletes have their own web sites and
control all of their own content. They will be able to be interactive with their fans by constantly
updating their web sites with information, teaching videos or blogging. The athletes will all have
their own charity or charities that they are near and dear to them constantly giving back to these
charities. It will give the fans a better chance to understand and see into the life of an athlete.

RD: How did you get involved in the business and what is your current role?

BP: I became involved with Curvsports because I have been working with Brian Hamilton and
Tyler Green for a couple of years as they have helped me with my brianpropp.com web site.
They have put together a business plan for Curvsports that will grow quickly in the near future. I
am the chairman of the Advisory Board for Curvsports along with being one of the athletes with
my own web site.

RD: What is the ultimate goal for Curvsports as a business?

BP: The ultimate goal of Curvsports is to build up the number of athletes involved so that the
fans can have a broad base of athletes to learn about and follow. The athletes will have the
opportunity to make money on advertising through Curvsports to help in their lives or donate to
charity.