Known for his booming voice and booming body checks, Joe was an anchor on the Flyers Stanley Cup championship teams.
Watson in his first year as a Flyer
Joe Watson was another Flyer Hall of Famer that saw his career start in the Bruins chain. His started his career in Oklahoma City where he was named an all-star
in 1965-66. He played 4 games for Boston in 64-65 season, spending most of the time with the Harry Sinden coached Oklahoma . When Sinden was named coach of the Bruins,
he gave Joe a shot at a regular NHL job in 66-67. He was paired up with fellow rookie Bobby Orr And actually scored his first NHL goal before Orr did). He became close friends
with Orr and was actually best man at Bobby's wedding. When it came time for expansion many were surprised when Joe was left unprotected. The Flyers picked him up as their second non-goalie choice.
- the Bruins said he was one of the biggest expansion draft losses.
Joe was devastated. He saw the Bruins as an up and coming team and thought he'd be part of it. He didn't report to the Flyers first training camp in Quebec City. When he was persuaded to join the team he was
terribly out of shape. He was literally sick to his stomach and decided to quit. Ed van Impe called Orr with the news. Bobby called Joe and convinced him to stick with it and the Flyers were grateful ever since.
Watson made an immediate impact. Even though he wasn't gifted offensively, Joe was on the ice for 46% of the Flyers goals that first year
Joe clears the view for
Flyers' goalie Doug Favell
Joe celebrates cup vistory
Joe was known by a few nicknames : Beaver, Pumpkin and Thundermouth, but he was always known as a reliable workman. Even though the Flyers had trouble scoring goals in the early years they never had
problems keeping the other team from scoring many, thanks in part to Joe Watson. His steady play got him named to all star game teams in 1973-74 and again in 1976-77 and played a major role in the Flyer championship teams of 73-74 and 74-75.
Strangely, for a player who only scored 36 goals for the Flyers, it may be a goal in an exhibition game that he will be remember best for. Joe Watson scored a shorthanded goal against the Soviet Red Army team on January 11, 1976 that
proved to be the game winner. Fred Shero joked that Watson's goal set Soviet hockey back 20 years. There was alao an incident a few months later. In the 1976 playoffs against Toronto, Leaf fans were dumping garbage at Don Saleski who
was in the penalty box. Joe tried to come to his teammate's aide. "I was swinging my stick like a lariat, aiming for a fan, when a policeman pushed him out of the way," Watson said" I hit the policeman right on the shoulder. Thank God he was understanding. You just don't
do that.". Joe, along with Bob Kelly plead guilty to common assault and were fined.
In 1978 the Flyers sold Watson to the Colorado Rockies franchise. Unfortunately his stay wouldn't be for long. One month into the season Joe was
checked from behind by the Blues Wayne Babych. Watson fell awkwardly and his leg shattered. It was broken in 13 places, instantly ending his career.
Joe was brought back to the Flyers family the next season where he has worked since, whether it be helping coaches from the press box, acting as an advanced scout or
in sales and marketing.
Just before leaving for the Rockies
Joe fends of Rangers' Phil Esposito