Hundreds of Philadelphia Flyers fans, as well as former and current players, helped eulogize the late hockey announcer Gene Hart on Sunday.
The team opened up the First Union Center, the Flyers' home arena, for the afternoon service, which included video clips of Hart, performances by members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Opera Company of Philadelphia and eulogies from his family and Flyers officials.
Hart died Wednesday at the age of 68.
"Gene Hart was the Flyers' ambassador of hockey," team chairman Ed Snider said. "When you think of Gene, you think of the Flyers."
Hart was remembered as someone who taught the public about hockey beginning 32 years ago, a time when few Americans knew much about the sport.
"He had a unique ability to explain and teach without offending those who already understood," Snider said.
Hart was also remembered as a classical music enthusiast and a language scholar.
"Gene was as responsible as anybody for building the incredibly loyal fan base that the Philadelphia Flyers enjoy," Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell said.
He said Hart would always agree to show up at events for civic organizations that needed an entertaining celebrity as a public speaker.
"No matter what the circumstances were, he could make you laugh," Rendell said. "It's a rare gift that few of us have."
Hart's love of music, and his amateur opera career, also were remembered through music by members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.
The family also planned a private funeral service Monday.
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