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July 12, 2023

Flyers apologize after staff members mocked reporter's question during Zoom call with Garnet Hathaway

Team president Keith Jones called Tuesday's hot mic incident 'completely unacceptable'

Media Flyers
Flyers Apology Reporter Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Flyers President of Hockey Operations Keith Jones apologized after team employees mocked a reporter's question during a Zoom call with Garnet Hathaway on Tuesday.

The Flyers issued an apology Tuesday night after a Zoom call with reporters took an awkward turn, with two members of the team's marketing staff being overheard ridiculing an Inquirer beat writer's question.

The incident happened during a virtual press conference with newly-acquired forward Garnet Hathaway, who signed a two-year deal with the team on July 1.

During the call, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Giana Han asked Hathaway what enticed him to join the Flyers, who are in the midst of a rebuild after an overhaul of the team's front office.

Members of the Flyers' creative content team apparently did not have their microphones muted during the exchange.

"How many times is she going to ask this f***ing question?" one male staff member said.

As Hathaway began responding to Han, a female voice also could be heard mocking Han's question, saying something along the lines of, "The Flyers suck, why do you want to play here?"

Flyers President of Hockey Operations Keith Jones released a statement calling the Zoom incident "completely unacceptable" and said the team had reached out to Han and the Inquirer to apologize.

"Any disrespect toward reporters is completely unacceptable, especially when they are simply doing their job," Jones said.

This isn't the first time the Flyers have had a contentious back-and-forth with a writer from the Inquirer. Two years ago, former Flyers forward Jake Voracek lashed out at sports columnist Mike Sielski during a press conference, calling him a "weasel" who "writes f***ing s***." Sielski told Crossing Broad he believed the outburst was motivated by Vorecek's objections to the way he had described an encounter at a practice two years earlier. 

Han tweeted about Hathaway's response to her question from Tuesday's session, but didn't mention the comments made by the team's staff members, who were not named.

Jones was named president of hockey operations in May, joining a revamped front office that includes former Flyer Danny Briere as general manager and Dan Hilferty as the team's governor and chairman. Jones, who played for the Flyers in the 1990s, had an extensive broadcasting career after his playing days.

The new leadership has emphasized changing the culture around the Flyers, who have struggled to sustain success and relevancy through various regime changes in the last decade.

"We just want to be part of the conversation again," Jones said during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic in May. "And we want to make sure that we eventually become a perennial Stanley Cup contending team. What's that mean? It means make the playoffs. Be there every year."