Flower Forever

There aren’t many athletes you root for once they leave your favorite team. Sometimes, once they retire - you act like it didn’t even happen. Franco in the backfield with Seattle, Talbot wearing the black and yellow with Boston, and Walker playing 2B in New York. It is hard to imagine these guys playing anywhere other than Pittsburgh, but nothing will sting quite like watching the Flower ‘man the net’ for a different city.

 

Since the day he was drafted, #29 has been a fan favorite in this city. Many credit Sid and Geno as the saviors of the franchise when it came close to leaving the city, but it was the Flower who was drafted a year before both of them. The third-ever goalie to be drafted #1 overall took over for a team with declining attendance and only 27 wins the previous season.

This didn’t bother him though. Nothing ever did. Well, except for that time he almost fought Montreal goalie Peter Budaj in 2014. That’s something that fans and teammates always loved about him. He would do anything for the team. Whether it is joining in on a team brawl, making a huge stop, making the players feel loose and laugh in critical moments, or accepting the role as a veteran backup - Flower was

a class act.

 

That may be the hardest part about seeing him go. Not the big saves, the the shutouts, not the three championships, not watching him try to score every time the opposing team pulled their goalie...but the smile. The smile that could calm the team and melt your heart. The smile that we saw the day he was drafted, and his last day in Pittsburgh. The smile on the face of a man who lifted three cups, and the same smile of the beloved icon who handed his last cup to his eventual replacement.

 

We may never see another player like this guy, so it is okay to root for him no matter where he goes. Once he is gone, it is not definitive that Pittsburgh adopts a “#2 team”, but we can assure you that Pittsburgh will always have a “#1 goalie”. As Mike Rupp, who played for seven different pro teams stated: “he’s the greatest teammate I’ve ever had.” We could not have said it better, and it is all that you need to know about the impact the Flower will Forever have on any and everyone that played with him.

Notes:

Black ink is removed from this design in that it is meant to be used on black or dark gray garments. 

The three stars on the sleeve are printed using a special metallic silver ink and stand for the three cups MAF has won in Pittsburgh.

The sleeve detail is optional. Please pay attention to product names as there is a whole other set available marked "Front Only" and these also include tank tops and other styles that the stars would not work.

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