Bill Sutherland, a former professional hockey player who scored the first goal in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers, died Sunday, April 9, 2017. He was 82.
The Flyers announced the death via a news release on the team’s official website.
Sutherland, a native of Canada, was a member of the Flyers’ original team in 1967 and 1968.
“Bill was an original member of this organization who helped set the standard of success and what it meant to be a Flyer,” said Flyers President Paul Holmgren. “He came to the Flyers as a veteran and played a crucial part in leading the team to a first-place finish in the West Division in the very first season. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”
From 1967 to 1971, Sutherland had 42 goals and 29 assists for 71 points in 124 games during the regular season. He also appeared in the first 11 Stanley Cup playoff games in Flyers history, according to the news release, notching two goals and four assists for six points.
Sutherland was born Nov. 10, 1934, in Regina, Saskatchewan, but spent much of his youth and adult life as a resident of Winnipeg, Manitoba. For most of his professional hockey career, he played well as a member of several minor league teams.
He was 33 when he made it to the NHL as a result of the 1967 expansion of the league. Before joining the Flyers, Sutherland did play two NHL games when he was with the Montreal Canadians during the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1963.
Sutherland scored the Flyers’ first goal Oct. 11, 1967, in the first regular-season game in team history.
After his professional hockey career ended, Sutherland held assistant and head coach positions with the Winnipeg Jets from 1979 until 1981.
He was a member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.