“We all have pressure,” Flyers GM Ron Hextall said last month. “Pro sports is pressure. There’s pressure on all of us. Now how you handle that pressure, you better handle it right. My philosophy is I do what I believe is right. I’m not going to do something to make me popular. I’m not going to do something that’s going to take away from the success of our team to put a few more people in the stands.”
By Annie Ross
Exactly what success would Hextall be talking about?
“We’re not going to change what we set out to do four years ago,” Hextall told NBC Sports Philly. “We put a plan in place. To go sideways now would be the wrong thing to do. It sort of took two years to get the wheels in motion and we’re on plan. Are we happy where we’re at right now? Hell no.”
During the 2017-18 regular season, the Flyers were third among the NHL in average attendance at 19,517, according to multiple websites. They were sixth in 2016-17 with 19,644. This season, the roster also became younger and more competitive (trends that should continue), resulting in 42 wins and 98 points, both highs under Dave Hakstol, who will be entering his fourth year in 2018-19.
These are reasons why Hextall won’t make reactionary moves this offseason.
“If we’re successful, the people are going to be in the seats,” Hextall said. “If you look around the league, we’ve got very good attendance. That’s a little bit harsh when you talk about attendance. Our attendance has been very good. Our fans are terrific.
“We’re not going to make a change to appease people or because we are supposed to or for whatever reason. We’re going to make changes to get better.”