Having grown up in Penna I am partial to Dave Schultz. Prior to his appearance on Broad Street, hockey was a rarely viewed tv sport (in US) and his actions served to popularize the sport in mainstream America. At first, the "new hockey" was akin to pro wrestling, attracting the "less than literate" crowd and bar room sports junkies. For a few years the purpose of the game seems to have been "a fight on ice" rather than the games real purposes. But good PR by the league & media put things back in check & the game became more popular than ever. IMHO The Hammer & the Flyers marketing execs were the ones who made hockey a real US sport (in the eyes of the public).
Of course there were some flubs..remember those radio chips the networks put inside the pucks so when the tv cameras followed the puck the viewer saw a colored streak on the tv screen! As we sat around and got stoned and watched hockey on tv, we were unsure as to what was really making those red lines on the tv screen! For the occasional guests of our smoke filled evenings who were unaware of the radiop chips, well, lets just say that those red streaks aided our ability to move the product!