Robert Earle Clarke, also known as Bob Clarke (since retirement as a player) and Bobby Clarke (while active as a player), is a Canadian former professional ice hockey centre who played his entire 15-year National Hockey League (NHL) career with the Philadelphia Flyers and is currently an executive with the team. Clarke is widely acknowledged as being one of the greatest hockey players and captains of all time. He was captain of the Flyers from 1973 to 1979, winning the Stanley Cup with them in both 1974 and 1975. He was again captain of the Flyers from 1982 to 1984 before retiring. A 3-time Hart Trophy winner and 1987 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Clarke was rated number 24 on The Hockey News’ list of The Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time in 1998. On January 27, 2017, in a ceremony during the All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, Clarke became part of the second group of players to be named one of the ‘100 Greatest NHL Players’ in history.
Upon retiring at the end of the 1983–84 season with 358 goals and 852 assists for a total of 1,210 points in 1,144 career games, he immediately became general manager of the Flyers. He spent 19 of the following 23 seasons as a general manager of the Flyers, also briefly serving as general manager of the Minnesota North Stars and Florida Panthers, and reached the Stanley Cup Finals three times with the Flyers and once with Minnesota. His time as an NHL general manager had its share of controversy, perhaps none greater than the rift between him and star player Eric Lindros during the late 1990s and early 2000s. He resigned from the general manager position less than a month into the 2006–07 season and is currently the Flyers’ senior vice president.
The image of Clarke, with a toothless grin, embracing the Stanley Cup and winking following the Flyers’ victory in the 1975 Stanley Cup Finals is considered one of the most iconic and famous photos in the history of the sport of hockey.
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