PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The U.S. is about to let a bunch of former Bullies become citizens.
Four members of the Philadelphia Flyers championship Broad Street Bullies teams of the 1970s are going through the steps that will make them American citizens by the end of the year.
Canadians Bill Clement, Orest Kindrachuk, Bob Kelly and Dave Schultz are known for leading the Flyers to their only two Stanley Cup titles in 1974 and 1975. They raised the Cup together and they’ll raise their right hands to take the citizenship oath.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” Kelly said. “It’s something we should have done a long, long time ago.”
The Flyers foursome was encouraged by former teammate Bob Dailey and U.S. Rep. Bob Brady to start the citizenship process this year.
“They’re not terrorists, though they were terrorists on the ice,” Brady said. “They’re law-abiding contributing citizens in the Philadelphia area.”
The Broad Street Bullies—the subject of a recent HBO documentary—ruled the ice with a ready-to-rumble style that made them loved in Philadelphia and loathed throughout the rest of the NHL.
No Flyer from their heyday personified the Bullies like Schultz.
He was known as the “The Hammer” because he routinely satisfied the bloodlust of NHL fans frothing for a fight. He never hesitated to drop his gloves and holds the record for most penalty minutes in a season (472 in 1974-75). He led the league in penalty minutes three other times in a nine-year career.
Schultz laughs when he says he hopes his days as Flyers enforcer won’t be held against him during the background check.
“No, thank God,” he said. “That can’t count against me.”
Brady, a Philadelphia native and Flyers fan, knows time in the penalty box is not on the questionnaire.
“I hope not. Schultz will never get in,” he said.
The former Flyers have lived here on green cards since their pro careers started in the late 1960s and 1970s. The idea of adding some red, white and blue to their orange and black had been talked about for years. With an assist from Brady, the plan took off.
For Kindrachuk and Schultz, a main motivation was wanting to vote.
“I’ve never voted in my life. I’ve never seen a voting booth,” Schultz said. “I guess I’m going to vote. Hopefully by this November, I’ll be able to vote.”
Added Kindrachuk: “I do read and pay attention to politics. It’s hard to give your comment on it when you can’t vote.”
Brady’s office sent them paperwork to get started. Kindrachuk and Kelly have completed the steps and only need to take the oath to become Americans. They are set to be sworn in Sept. 17.
“They did a whole lot for Philadelphia,” Brady said. “They helped put us on the map as far as sports are concerned. They want to be American citizens, so why not let that happen.”
Kelly played 10 seasons with the Flyers and now works in the Flyers’ community relations department. He’s lived in the U.S. for 40 years after spending the first 19 in Canada.
“Being part of them is awesome and being an American citizen is awesome,” he said.
Kelly said his decision truly hit home when his wife and kids decorated the house and threw him a party after he passed his citizenship test.
“It kind of gave me chills,” he said.
Flyers assistant coach Jack McIlhargey also went through the process and has become a citizen.
Schultz was fingerprinted this week as part of becoming a naturalized citizen. He’ll need to study for an oral exam.
“Us Canadians, we know more about America than people in the United States know about Canada by far,” Schultz said.
Kindrachuk, who scored 118 goals in a 10-year career, answered correctly on all six questions in his immigration interview.
“There are some questions, I guarantee, people born and raised U.S. can’t answer,” he said.
Kindrachuk, Kelly and Schultz, who live in New Jersey, will maintain duel citizenship. Clement could not be reached for comment.
“I think it will be a special feeling to finally become a citizen,” Kindrachuk said