When franchise legend Ron Hextall was unceremoniously fired as general manager of the Philadelphia Flyers early last season, the entire hockey world was shocked. After all, the consensus amongst fans and analysts was that Hextall had done a good job re-shaping the Flyers during his tenure. Specifically, Hextall’s drafting acumen had procured future NHLers like Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Carter Hart and Nolan Patrick.
But in the end, it just wasn’t enough for the Flyers’ upper management group, led by former Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. When the decision was made that Hextall was out, it was Holmgren who made the announcement, saying:
“The Flyers organization has decided to relieve Ron Hextall of his duties as executive vice president and general manager,” president Paul Holmgren said. “We thank Ron for his many significant contributions, but it has become clear that we no longer share the same philosophical approach concerning the direction of the team. In light of these differences, we feel it’s in the organization’s best interests to make a change, effective immediately. I have already begun a process to identify and select our next general manager, which we hope to complete as soon as possible.”
Since then it’s been radio silence from the Hextall camp, but with rumors that he’s in serious contention to take over Paul Fenton’s GM position with the Minnesota Wild details of Hextall’s firing in Philly are beginning to emerge. Wild insider Michael Russo of The Athletic who did a masterful job digging up the details of Fenton’s firing in Minnesota managed to unearth some interesting tidbits of Hextall’s firing as well.
Check out these quotes from Russo’s latest article for The Athletic:
When I started to hear all this about Fitzgerald, some told me this could be Ron Hextall’s job to lose. After all, Leipold wanted an experienced GM and the former Flyers GM has been there, done that. He had a good first interview and I believe he has gotten or is about to get a second interview. He impressed during the first one, but I think it’d be impossible for Wild management not to have heard some of the things you allude to. There were rumors of unhappy staff in Philly and Hextall only relying on a small inner circle, but I will say I’ve done a lot of due diligence into this myself and I think some of the stuff he was criticized for can be easily explained and rationalized if Hextall was ever willing to open the vault. I think it was more Hextall and the old guard having issues and Hextall trying to rid the Flyers of a country club atmosphere. Still, Fenton’s personality could have them gun shy right now and they could conceivably be scared off by some of the dirt that has been shoveled over top of Hextall since his shocking dismissal last winter.
No doubt that Hextall had to fight hard agains the old guard, which was likely made even more difficult after the passing of long-time Flyers owner Ed Snider in 2016. Whether this factors into the Wild's decision making remains to be seen, but at the very least it should help Flyers fans get some closure on the ending of the Hextall Era in Philly... again.