Lou Nolan, public address (PA) announcer for the Philadelphia Flyers for 50 years, was honored for his service in a pregame ceremony at the Wells Fargo Center before the start of the Anaheim Ducks vs Philadelphia Flyers National Hockey League (NHL) game on April 9.
Before beginning his career with the Flyers as a press box assistant during the team’s inaugural season in 1967, Nolan attended what was then Saint Joseph’s College for several semesters in 1964 and 1965.
“I started out with accounting which I wasn’t too crazy about, and then I managed to go to marketing which I enjoyed a lot more and had some fun with,” Nolan said. “It was evening school, but I was still a Hawk.”
Nolan credits his time at St. Joe’s for helping him prepare for his career with the Flyers and for polishing his public speaking skills.
“When I was a freshman in high school, I was asked to do a presentation in front of the class, and I clammed up. I couldn’t do it and I had to fight my way through that,” Nolan said. “Working in St. Joe’s and talking to people, by the time I got [to the Flyers], I felt a lot more comfortable. I was far from polished. Nobody is right away. I was far from polished, but it certainly helped.”
Several years after he left St. Joe’s, Nolan met Joe Kadlec, who was working for the Philadelphia Daily News at the time. Nolan said Kadlec was responsible for getting him his start with the Flyers as a press box assistant for five years.
“I watched a lot of hockey, and I said [to Kadlec], ‘if you need anybody to help you, I understand it, so I’ll help you,’ and I ran his press box for him,” Nolan said. “When the announcer left to go with a new team in the World Hockey League, I said to Lou Scheinfeld, who was vice president to Ed Snider, ‘I’d like to do that.’”
This was the beginning of what would be a five-decade career as a public address announcer for the Flyers. During this time, Nolan voiced the 1976 and 1992 All-Star Games, Flyers Hall of Fame inductions, and several Stanley Cup Finals. Which of these games hold his favorite memories of him?
“Well, it’s pretty easy, the Stanley Cup. It’s hard to do that,” Nolan said. “[Also] doing the Olympics was an honor for me, that the NHL called me and asked me to do that.”
Nolan is used to being the voice behind the microphone for events, like the one the Flyers held for him to celebrate his 50 years of service. Nolan said he was initially embarrassed by being in the spotlight.
“Instead of me running a ceremony, putting somebody in the Flyers Hall of Fame, or retiring a number like Hexie’s [Ron Hextall] number, it was going to be me,” Nolan said. “People were going to talk about me.”
Nolan said during his five decades with the Flyers, the most rewarding part of his job has been the people he met along the way, especially his co-workers and Flyers fans. Augie Conte, NHL off-ice official crew supervisor who has worked with Nolan for 32 years, said Nolan’s love for hockey fans is apparent when working with him.
“He always says, ‘I just want to give a good show to the fans,’” Conte said. “He’s passionate about that, working next to him, you could feel it in his heart that he just loves the fans and the Flyers fans.”
Tina DiVilio, Flyers senior director of game presentation who has been working next to Nolan for a year, said Nolan welcomed her to the Flyers with open arms.
“[He is] the most caring, respectful, professional person that you can imagine,” DiVilio said. “He just cares so much about everyone.”
DiVilio, who sits next to Nolan during games, said she always finds a pretzel, a cookie and a water bottle at every game, courtesy of Nolan, but said she really appreciates his love for music.
“I don’t know if this is a crazy unknown fact, but he loves that song, ‘Jump Around’ [by House of Pain],” DiVilio said. “’It’s time to jump,’ he’ll say, ‘I think we better jump.’ So you hear ‘Jump Around,’ [and] it’s usually because Lou says ‘I think it’s time to jump.’”
Will Burrough ’23, a long-time Flyers fan, said it’s Nolan’s dedication to the game and to the fans that brings a consistent energy to the game.
“Whenever there’s a power play, whenever something happens, you already know that you’re gonna hear him over the announcements and making that announcement,”
Burrough said. “It brings a level of energy to the game and also some consistency.”
Nolan said he is proud of the years he spent as the public address announcer for the Flyers and thankful for those who have helped him along the way.
“My goal really was when I did the first game, it was just to be there for the second [game] and it’s progressed and progressed,” Nolan said. “Fifty years has blown by so quickly.”
Nolan said he was thrilled to bring his family onto the ice for the ceremony and to share the moment with them and with fans.
“I mean I was very, very, very happy to do that and I’m proud and thankful,” Nolan said. “I just want to thank everybody that you have a bit to do with that, including my time there at St. Joe’s. [It was] important for me And the Hawk will never die.”