Brian Propp has been a fixture when it comes to Flyers hockey and the area for a long time. Between his career as a player, team ambassador, and broadcaster Propp has been in and around hockey for a very long time. He’s also found success in business with WRCE and has a few ventures of his own in the works too.
(M is for Matt, which is me and BP is for, of course, Brian Propp. The interview has been edited for length, clarity, and mostly to cut out the 3 minutes of rambling I do between questions. Hard not to get flustered when talking to someone like Propper.)
We had a chance to sit down and chat with the Flyers legend and hit on a variety of topics in a wide-ranging conversation.
First I wanted to talk to Propp about his business ventures and how he has been adjusting to conducting them all through a pandemic.
M: Have you had any problems making adjustments to remote work?
BP: Not really. We’re pretty good at social media at Wolf Commercial and with all the podcasts I’ve been having and the different companies and I download them and try them so everything works at the time. I only get into trouble for not having the right login information.
M: Do you find it more difficult to keep up and oversee employees?
BP: Not so much in terms of commercial real estate. We have some listings so if people want they can see where they want to go, look at some buildings but since it’s all commercial its usually bigger buildings.
The more you get in front of people the better it is and our marketing at Wolf is unbelievable. We post every day between 10 and 2 and have the properties so we do a lot to stay in front of people all the time.
M: Would you say communication is even more important in professional settings, especially during a pandemic?
BP: Yes because a lot of people are missing out. I’ve been on social media for the last 15 years. I know how to use it. If I want to send pictures or messages I can. It’s all good for me and us at Wolf since we do such a good job of marketing and promoting its part of why we’ve done as well as we have.
M: Do you think the age of the professional dressing in a flashy suit and tie is coming to a close faster thanks to COVID-19?
BP: I think so. Since they do so much online with Zoom and other videos that people just don’t want to dress up a lot. If you work say downtown you’ll still have to dress up a bit but now it’s more relaxed since people work from home. As long as people look presentable though I don’t really mind. With all these millennials that don’t wanna dress for work or wear ties and things.
M: I know you’ve had a personal brand for many years. You have Guffaw branded gear now?
BP: Yeah I set it up so I can always have some Guffaw t-shirts to give people and soon to buy them. I don’t have it set up to buy right now. Also my Guffaw brand I’ve trademarked that and I’m just ready to order my Guffaw Cigarsin a week from the Dominican Republic, ordering 425 boxes of 10. They are numbered and have a special prize in it but they’ll be a really good cigar. They’ll cost $140 for a box of 10 which isn’t bad and free shipping.
It’s a licensing agreement I’m doing with Vivonte Cigars. After we’ve sold the first 425 cigars we’ll branch out to different kinds. We’ll have a mild, medium and maybe a Maduro and some bundles. They’ll all have the Guffaw logo on them.
M: Were you always interested in cigars? How did that opportunity arise?
BP: I went with my son two years ago to the DR with a group of guys. We visited a manufacturer, got to see what it was all about. It’s all hand made in the Dominican Republic it’s not machine-made. I learned how to roll a cigar, properly smoke them but I’ve been interested since I was playing hockey. Every summer I’ve always liked having a cigar outside when I play golf and I was thinking about how I could do it. It took a long time to figure out how to do it the right way but it should be all really good. Everything should be ready in a week and hopefully, people will buy them and they’ll sell out so we can go from there.
I know a little bit about cigars. Rings, sizes, what’s good so it’s really exciting for me.
M: Do you have any tips on how to best enjoy the cigars?
BP: Well it really all depends. It could be after a meal, some Italian food or steaks, maybe with a scotch or a glass of wine. It depends on what people like. I know the cigars will all be really good since they’re from the Dominican Republic because that’s the way I wanted them. I didn’t want cheap stuff.
There are different kinds, a smaller size, I like the bigger ones. Cigar people will really be able to tell the difference. A lot of people just like to have a mild cigar when they are new but the more seasoned cigar smokers will enjoy a medium or Maduro blend. Hopefully, everyone will enjoy my cigars, rate them, and write a little bit about them.
Propp also shared with us his favorite place to have a cigar. Naturally, it’s the offseason home of most hockey players, the golf course. He especially enjoys them mid fairway on one of the several fantastic Ron Jaworski courses in the area. He also hopes to have cigar bundles available at the courses to buy shortly as well. He’s also planning on releasing a smaller size box available in a 24 pack for a price of around $8 a cigar.
M: Switching gears to hockey, with the restart looming how should have a player been preparing and using their time off?
BP: The guys that are playing now are always staying in shape. I think from the ’80s on. I know when I was a player I started working out with Pat Croce and learned how to work out better.
In the ’80s though we still drank a lot of beer and had better stories and the tough guys were still there. In the 90’s things kinda changed when a lot more Europeans and Russians got drafted and now it’s changed again. There used to be a lot more fighting and physical play and now they are using speed and things like that. They are all paid a lot of money and they have to be in shape all the time. They don’t have as many good stories but they don’t get as out of shape.
With the last five months too a lot of guys got time to get healthy so players will be fresh. It won’t take too long, if they are playing these preseason games they’ll be ok.
M: I’ve got two younger brothers who both play hockey and I don’t quite know how to advise them as far as what to do with their training right now since they don’t get a lot of ice. What would you suggest for younger players?
BP: Well you have to have the drive first of all. You have to be able to practice like you play. You also may have the physical side but you need the mental as well. I was always really really prepared cause I had a sports psychologist, Dr. Steve Rosenberg, who helped me with relaxing and listening. Players like Mark Howe, Brad McCrimmon, and myself all went to him. When I was young we went to the Finals my first year and a few more times and I learned I had to be even better in the playoffs. So I learned how to prepare myself better physically and mentally, more mentally to be consistent.
A lot of players today have to be more consistent. The guys today can go through slumps and it just can’t happen. Sure doing to the work to score is easier than scoring but still.
For say your brother I’d say look at what’s really difficult and how to improve it. From my stroke 5 years ago I couldn’t talk at all. I’ve come a long way but I’m always looking to get better, I’m always looking to make a big or noticeable difference. A couple things I’m doing is with a distributor is with VoxxLife socks and insoles. It helps balance and its really noticeable for the hockey players who use them (office). I know from when I play golf my balance is so much better when I wear socks. It’ll keep getting better the more you wear them because your brain recalibrates and fixes what’s wrong.
It could be something simple but I’m always looking for something. For the last 40 years, I’ve been using a Bemer machine. It’s a little expensive but I haven’t gotten sick, I have tons of energy and it helps the blood circulation from your whole body. From my stroke I still have aphasia but it helps me think a lot clearer. Even for me to talk, I talk to fast and I should slow down.
Everything adds up. Always look for something you can understand, then see who else is using it. Google a few different things, read reviews.
M: You’ve talked a lot about mental preparation. When you were gearing up for something like the 1987 Canada Cup was that similar to say a playoff scenario or was it different for you?
BP: In the playoffs it was different. You got prepared every time with your own team. Its why I went to five Stanley Cup Finals because I prepared as well as anyone. We didn’t win but I was there producing every time. Its why I’m #1 in hockey for left-wingers in scoring in playoffs.
Canada Cup was different since you’re playing for your country but it’s similar too. In 82 and 83 I played the World Championships after we lost in the first round so I got to play with Team Canada. Canada Cup in 87 was special since there were 5 of us from the Flyers team there but I also go to play with Lemuix and Gretzky for most of the tournament. Every once in awhile Keenan would mix it around and I’d be with Tocchet and Sutter but we did what we had to do and everyone was doing the best we could for their country. It was such a nice opportunity with the three-game series since we had to win two to win the gold. It was special for us to win against Russia too since they were an Olympic team and only trained for that. They couldn’t even get drafted until the 1990s. A lot of the Russians had to defect before. The hockey was unbelievable. The players on our team like Bourque, Coffey, Messier, Anderson, Gartner, Hawerchek, Goulette, myself, you can go up and down that lineup but the Russians were as unbelievable too.
It was nice to be on the winning side. In 92 I won the Spengler Cup in Switzerland too. In 1999 it was special for me since I was picked as the all-time left winger in the history of the game in Canada. I was picked alongside Lemuix, Orr, Potvin, Lafleur, and Bernie Parent.
You can’t say enough about Propp’s play on the ice. In fact, a lot of folks should be saying more about it. When someone asks “who was the best-left winger in the 80’s” and the answer isn’t Brian Propp they need to go back a reevaluate their hockey knowledge. Propp’s numbers stand alone in both regular and post-season play.
Propp owns records for most points by a left-winger in the playoffs, most assists, most assists in a Stanley Cup finals game, most playoff power-play goals, most goals without reaching a Stanley Cup Final, and the most points by a rookie in a Cup Finals in the modern era. In the regular season, he was the leader in the 1980s among LWs in games, assists, plus/minus, game-winning goals, shots, playoff goals, playoff points, defensive share points, power-play goals, and power-play shots.
When you consider the final career totals and that Propp was a point a game player, when someone like Marian Hossa gets into the Hall of Fame this year, it is a good sign that before long Propp should get the call as well. Propp’s final state line includes 425 goals and 579 assists for 1004 points in 1016 NHL games. He also has 64 goals and 84 assists for 148 points in 160 playoff games.
M: Let’s take Marian Hossa. He played 1300 games. He’s into the HOF with only 134 more points than you. You were a point per game player in your career. You played 4 fewer seasons. From a numbers standpoint you deserve to be in but do you think this is something you’ll have to campaign for, or will you sit an patiently wait?
BP: Lately Scott McKay (my old high school coach ironically enough. Hey coach, heard you have a radio show now. Need an intern?) and Bill Schewim has a radio show called the Locker Room and they are doing interviews and they’ve been asking about it. For 30 years I’ve been passed over but we’ve got the stats. It always helps to have people talk about it and writers writing about it.
When you look at the whole thing, even my junior career with the Melville Millionaires and having over 500 points with the Brandon Wheat Kings and being the MVP of the whole league in juniors adds up to. Then you’ve got my time as the Flyers announcer and ambassador for the team it all adds up and it tells a story.
M: You just touched on broadcasting, will announcers likely not being on-site make things more difficult?
BP: I think so. Just watching the TV and calling it will be really different. Now for the players, it doesn’t matter if there are fans or not. It’ll be about how they prepare and you’ll see they adjust much better. It was like me, I was prepared. The better players in the league the ones who prepare themselves and know what’s going on.
M: Anything we haven’t touched on you’d like to mention?
BP: Yes, I’m an ambassador for Bancroft and I’ll be doing events for them. Also, we’re looking at the Wolf Commercial golf outing for September 17th, a Friday. Usually, we do our hockey charity there but with this, we’re doing it as golf fundraiser. Bancroft has a golf tournament on September 25th at the Union League at the shore. For our Wolf Celebrity hockey event, we’re looking at early 2021.
He’s already in the Canadian Juniors Hall of Fame, the Saskatchewan Hall of Fame, five-time NHL All-Star, Canada Cup champion, Spengler Cup champion, and one of the premier players of an entire decade. Brian Propp is a player who deserves to be remembered as one of Philadelphia’s best and enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Hopefully, it will be soon.
We’d like to thank Brian Propp for sitting down to talk with us. If you want to check out his social media pages on Twitter Facebook and Linkedin be sure to do that. Also his website Brianpropp.com is where you can find links for his Guffaw shirts, Guffaw cigars, and more information on the Voxxlife socks and insoles.