The PUCK

The Puck, the Official Publication of the Philadelphia Flyers Fan Club

Hi Everyone,

Been on a recent Flyers road trip? Attend the latest PFFC club gathering? Have a hockey experience you’d like to share with other fans? We would love to hear from you!

The Puck is the official newsletter of the Philadelphia Flyers Fan Club, published nine times a year. You can submit your articles (and photos) to: Lois Witulski, c/o PFFC, 3601 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148 or email to: lwitulski@verizon.net .

Below are just a few articles from recent issues of the Puck. Enjoy and Go Flyers!!

Thank you,
Lois Witulski,
Puck Editor

Please note: All materials sent for publication are subject to approval. We reserve the right to edit any portion of any article to better suit the needs of this publication. Articles printed strictly represent the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Philadelphia Flyers, its Fan Club or the editor of this newsletter.

SoCal 2014-- A.K.A "Ducks; Kings; and Millers" by Alan Ellis


YadHowseJanuary 30th…Wednesday morning and snowing AGAIN!  As the early morning progressed, it cleared up as members of our Fan Club made the long-awaited trip to Southern California for the Flyers vs. Anaheim Ducks & Los Angeles Kings.  After flying into Denver, we changed planes and 2-1/2 hours later, we landed in LA, where after leaving the snow and cold 3000 miles behind, it was close to 60 degrees.  We found our way to the hotel, set up shop and rested from the long travel.  Later, we went to a local tavern (food was GOOD) for dinner & watched the Islanders/ Rangers Yankee stadium tilt and then returned to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

Thursday, we went to the Honda Center for the Flyers/ Ducks game.  Before the game we met up with some Ducks fans at a sports bar.  It was fun to hang with some nice people.  The Ducks won 5-3, but it was a good game.  On Friday, it was on to Hollywood to see some sights but before that, we went to the Forum in Inglewood where the Kings used to play.  Lou & I were interviewed by a local TV station about the NFL's St. Louis Rams possibly returning to LA (their owner bought the land where Hollywood Park-Horse Track & Casino is), but we didn't think it was going to happen.  From there it was on to Hollywood Blvd. for some sights (finding parking was a piece of work).  We did find a lot and made our way to the Hard Rock for lunch.  Going down the street, there were lots of people passing out maps to the stars homes and people dressed like movie characters (of course, one was dressed & made up like Marilyn Monroe).   After lunch, we headed to CBS Television City for the taping of the TV show "The Millers".  We parked and waited outside to get in.  A stand-up comic warmed us up with some jokes, then it was time for the taping (this particular episode was called "The Millers Plus One"- which aired in early March).  For the next four hours, we saw a TV show being put together.  It was that long because of mostly line flubs, script changes & re-playing scenes.  It was explained to us that the taping is at the end of a week's worth of readings & rehearsals.  It was a LOT of fun.  If you get a chance to go, I would recommend it.  After the taping, it was back to the hotel.

Saturday Flyers vs. Kings.  Staples Center is nice, with an entertainment & restaurant complex across the street.  We hung out with members of the LA Kings Fan Club at their table before & after the game & between periods.  The Flyers won 2-0, GREAT game by Steve Mason with the shutout.  Wayne Simmonds scored his 100th career goal & Claude Giroux iced it with a power play goal late in the 3rd.  Dinner was at the Yard House (a BLAST) and then back to rest for the long flight home on Sunday.  As we left SoCal behind, we had a lot of GREAT memories.  Thanks to Lou, Liz, Beth, Joe, & Bruce for making it a fun trip!l there!.

Carnival Fun by Theresa Carney-Kestenholz


Theresa-Friends-Mod2Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a shot on goal on Ray Emery or to play your favorite video game versus the Schenn brothers?  If you were one of the lucky ones who were able to attend the Flyers Wives Carnival on Sunday January 26th, you were able to have that experience.

As usual, my cousins Ryan, Zach, Paige and I took our annual trip to the carnival hoping to be able to meet and interact with our favorite players and Flyers personalities.  After arriving at the Wells Fargo Center and getting our carnival books and programs, we set off to get autographs and play some games.  Paige and I got in line to meet Kimmo Timonen and wished him luck in Sochi.  It must have worked because he came home with a bronze metal.  Congrats Kimmo!  After that we got Steve Mason's autograph and then had our photo taken with him.  He seemed to be having a really good time interacting with the fans.  Ryan and Zach got Brayden Schenn's autograph, who seemed to be amused when he was asked to sign Zach's phone case.

While roaming around, looking at all of the games and vendors set up along the concourse I made a bid on a silent auction item, purchased some mystery bags and even ran into David Boreanaz.  All in all, it was an awesome day.

On behalf of everyone who was able to attend the carnival or was able to make a donation, I would like to thank all of the wives and girlfriends who worked very hard to put this year's event together.  In my opinion, it is one of the best run charity events in all of sports and it is because of the people involved.  I look forward to next year's carnival and hope to see you all there!.

Thanksgiving in Nashville by Maureen Fisher


On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Joe and I along with Pam Miller and Stacey Squilla headed down I-95 in our packed car towards Nashville.  The weather was raining and eventually turned to snow as we got closer to Washington.  We arrived in Nashville to beautiful weather on Thanksgiving day and checked into our hotel in the center of Nashville.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner buffet at Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant.  The food was really good, the staff was friendly and it was a nice casual place that I highly recommend.  After dinner we drove to Opryland to look at the outdoor Christmas lights.

On Friday, Joe, Stacey and I took a City tour of Nashville.  Our first stop was the Ryman Auditorium known as the “Mother Church of Country Music”.  We all got our picture on the stage of the famous original home of the “Grand Ole Opry Show”.  Our tour ended at the Country Music Hall of Fame.  We had lunch at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, a Nashville landmark.  After lunch we went back to the Country Music Hall of Fame for a tree lighting concert featuring Richie McDonald from Lone Star.  On Friday night Jen Ebling and Theresa & Hal Kestenholz arrived to join us.

On Saturday morning we toured the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, which happens to be in a dry county.  Finally the reason for our trip was the Flyers vs Predators game.  Nashville puts on a great party outside the arena.  The fans really get into the game.  They have a live band that plays during the time outs.  The Flyers won 3-2 in a shoot-out.  The arena is located right in the middle of all the restaurants and bars known as “The District”.  After the game we went to a bar called the Honkey Tonk Central where we got a table right inside the door.  Dressed in our Flyers gear, we encountered a lot of Flyer fans, high-fiving us as they passed through the door.  Nashville is a great place, with friendly people.  I highly recommend a visit there the next time the Flyers are in town.

CARNIVAL MEMORIES - by Theresa Carney-Kestenholz


















Tradition:  A time honored practice or set of such practices. 
The recent lockout not only threatened the entire hockey season, but it also threatened one of the best events during the hockey season: The Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival.  I have to admit, when the lockout was in full effect I was worried that my cousins and I would miss out on the carnival and all of the fun that goes along with it.  Don’t get me wrong, missing out on hockey for the year would be awful, but so would not having the carnival.  Not only is it a lot of fun for the fans, but it also raises a lot of money for many worthwhile charities in our area. 

Let me say, when it was announced in January that we would have a shortened hockey season, I was happy and even more so when the wives and the charity organization were able to put together the carnival for this year.  On March 3rd, Paige, Ryan, Zach and I set out for the Wells Fargo Center to take part in this year’s carnival.
Once inside there was a festive atmosphere going on.  Although this year’s carnival wasn’t as grand as in years past, there were plenty of activities to participate in.  One lucky fan got to play NHL 13 against cover star Claude Giroux.  The boys set out on their own and took a tour of the Gene Hart Memorial Press Box.  After Paige and I went and got our mystery grab bags, we got in line for pictures with Max Talbot and later the Schenn brothers.
The carnival is as much a tradition for my family as it is for the entire Flyers family.  On behalf of all of the families that attend the carnival year after year, I would like to say thank you to all of the people, especially the wives, who work very hard to put on this event year after year.  I’ll be at the carnival next year with my cousins and I hope to see all of you there as well.  Let’s Go Flyers
!

NASHVILLE- A “Bucket List” City by Palma Maglio


Ever since the movie with Morgan Freemen and Jack Nicholson came out, lots of people have made a list of the things they want to do & places
they want to see before they “kick the bucket”.  If Nashville isn’t on your list, it should be.  It is the country music capital of the world, it has an
interesting collection of public artwork, AND it is a great place to watch a hockey game!

Most of the PFFC trippers flew out on Thursday or Friday before the Saturday night game with the Predators, so we had some time to explore
the area.  Most people did the requisite honkey tonk hopping at places like “Tootsie’s” and “Wild Horse Saloon” but some of us were lucky
enough to meet up with Nashville hockey bud and Preds’ fan extraordinaire, Deborah Reynolds.  Deb showed us things that were a little out of
walking range like “music row”, (a lot of recording studios & talent agencies), historic parts of the city (like the capitol building & civil rights sit-in
sites) and an interesting statue called “Musica” (thanks Beth).  Musica is a celebration of music (duh) depicted by a bunch of dancing &
frolicking people.  The interesting part is that the people are naked and anatomically correct (this IS a “bible belt” town after all).  We were told
that what some Nashvillians call “The Naked People Statue”, tends to reflect what’s going in the world like when the Predators made the
playoffs, the people were wearing jerseys.  When we were there, they were decked out in necklaces made from red solo cups in homage to the Toby Keith song.  Nashville also sports a replica of the Parthenon, the temple of Venus located in Athens (Nashville has been called
“the Athens of the South”).

 Our hotel was right next to the arena and as usual, accommodations were first class.  Ask anyone, except for the unfortunate knuckleheads
who decided to cram into one elevator car, wound up snapping the cable & being trapped for close to two hours.  To add insult to injury, the
elevator was glass, so a bunch of human sardines stuck between floors turned into a photo opportunity for a lot of people.  After about an hour,
the “sardines” became cranky and starting giving the middle finger salute.

The centerpiece of any PFFC trip is the team, and of course we know how the game turned out, but here are some team related fun things:

-  We attended practice (thanks Zack!) which is always cool, but a bunch of our group got on the wrong elevator on the way out and gave Jagr
   quite a scare when he went to get on the elevator and the doors opened to reveal a carful of wide-eyed fans.
-  You know when you’re down the shore & you drop a French fry on the boardwalk and it’s immediately mobbed by seagulls?  The way the
   autograph seekers approached the players after practice, I’m pretty sure they know what the French fry feels like.
-  Compared to us, Nashville is a relatively new hockey town, but the atmosphere at the game is almost collegiate, the way they cheer for the
   Preds.  Seeing a little kid standing next to Grandpa shouting HEY! WE’RE GONNA BEAT THE HELL OUTTA YOU! in unison with 17 thousand
   people brought a chuckle.  I was a little sick of Tim McGraw by the third period though…

Aside from the final score, Nashville was great.  Another brilliant job by trip Czar Lou Milano.  From the hotel being just steps from the arena, to
dinner with friends being served by a failed singer-songwriter to the sweet tea, Nashville is definitely a place to see at least once in your life. 
Add it to “the list”! 
P.S.  Deb Reynolds is one of those terrific people you’d meet at convention.  Think about it!.

A Day of Celebration by Lois Witulski


New Year’s Eve 2011, what an awesome day!  The weather was perfect!  Ok, so maybe it was just a little warm for outdoor hockey, but it only added to the party atmosphere outside Citizens Bank Park in anticipation for the Flyers Alumni vs NY Rangers Alumni game.  Upon arriving at the parking lot, you could feel the excitement in the air.  Thousands of fans were tailgating, enjoying the Winter Classic Fan Fest and having a great time. 

As I made my way to my seat and looked around this amazing ballpark now transformed into a hockey rink, I realized that something special was about to happen.  It is hard to describe the excitement and emotion of seeing all of my favorite Flyers players from the past four decades, all in one place at one time.  I can honestly say that I enjoyed the player introductions and pre-game festivities just as much as the game. 

The game was exciting and seeing these amazing Flyers All-Stars all together again, brought back so many great memories for me.  To see Bernie Parent make several huge saves in the first period was such a treat!  The LCB line reunited – incredible!   My two all time favorites, Rick Tocchet and Mark Recchi back on the ice – unbelievable!  When Lou Nolan announced “Flyers goal scored by #10 John LeClair, assisted by #88 Eric Lindros”…, I could close my eyes and it was the mid 90’s all over again.  I was also excited to see another of my old favorites, Shjon Podein chip in for a goal.  Mark Howe’s penalty shot - amazing!  And on and on it went. 

The Flyers Greats prevailed over the Rangers Alumni 3-1, but it wasn’t about the game.  This was a day of celebration…of hockey and of all the men who’ve proudly worn the orange & black over the years.  I feel lucky to have attended this truly once in a lifetime event and the Flyers Winter Classic game just two days later.  It was a wonderful experience and a weekend that I know I will never forget! 

Winter Classic Philadelphia 2012 By Maureen Fisher


WinterClassic2012

By now you have read Lois Witulski’s article on the beginning of the Winter Classic Week in Philadelphia 2012 with the Flyers Alumni defeating the Rangers Alumni.  I will pick up two days later on January 2, 2012.  While everyone was watching the Mummers Parade and/or football on New Year’s Day we found out that due to warmer weather and sunshine the Winter Classic game was pushed back to 3 pm.  Most fans still arrived at Citizens Bank Park early.  The parking lots were crowded with fans.  Joe and I along with our friends Ryan Smith (from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia), Steve Robinson, Stacey Squilla and Lois Witulski crammed into my Honda CRV and arrived in the parking lot around 12:30 pm.  The weather was colder than Saturday but still a very nice day.  We had fun tailgating and having friends stop by to visit.  Everyone waited a long time for this game and there was a lot of excitement in the air.

We went into Citizens Bank Park around 2 pm.  The view of the rink on the field was awesome.   The smaller rink had kids playing hockey wearing both Flyers and Rangers jerseys.  Soon it was time for the national anthems.  Groups of people unfurled first the Canadian Flag and then the American Flag.  The scene was beautiful and moving, especially when the fireworks went off and then the fly over from the jets.  They were so close the sound was deafening.  Soon it was time to drop the puck.
                                          
The first period went by very quickly.  In the first intermission Bill Clement introduced members of the Flyers Alumni and gave everyone a brief video history of the Flyers.  The Flyers scored two goals in the second period, one by Brayden Schenn, his first in the NHL, and the second by Claude Giroux.  The Rangers came back with a quick one.  The second period ended with the Flyers up 2-1.  The Flyers Fans were awesome and the Ranger Fans were chanting “Hank” after each amazing save from Lundqvist on each Flyers shot.  During the second intermission and into the third period, snow started falling.  It only added to the electric atmosphere inside the park.  Unfortunately the Rangers scored to tie the game and then went ahead 3-2 in the third period.  In the last few seconds of the game, the Flyers were awarded a penalty shot.  Coach Laviolette choose Danny Briere.  The crowd was on its feet cheering Danny on.  It would have been an amazing end to regulation if the Flyers could have scored.  Danny took the shot but Lundqvist came up big again for the Rangers and the Flyers lost the game 3-2.  It was a great day and everyone had a great time.  The only thing that could have made the day better was a Flyers win.  Next read about the exciting conclusion of the Winter Classic 2012 week in Philadelphia as Nicole Thomas writes about the Phantoms vs. Hershey Bears game.

Phantoms Outdoors Under the Lights by Nicole Thomas


I have traveled to many different cities between my home and Glens Falls to see the Phantoms each season since they departed Philadelphia.
I always look forward to their one game in Philadelphia.  This season’s game could not have been more spectacular.  To see the Phantoms outdoors under the lights at Citizens Bank Park was absolutely amazing!  I went to the first AHL outdoor game a couple of years ago in Syracuse.  It was really an amazing experience.  This was better because it included the Phantoms in such a grand venue.  Plus it was not as bitter cold as Syracuse had been.  To me, one of the best parts of this game was the amount of young fans in attendance.  I cannot tell you how many conversations I overheard where the kids were so excited to be at this game and how they talked about the Phantoms.  I think this is one thing that is missing now - the ability to give kids that exposure that they had when the Phantoms were here.  It was really great to see everyone come out in their Phantoms gear or to be wearing purple (even if it is no longer one of their colors like it used to be).
It was done right recognizing that the Hershey Bears were formerly the Flyers farm team and now their current team is the Phantoms.  There was a nice opening ceremony with members of the 2005 Calder Cup team.  Lauren Hart singing the anthem for the Phantoms was a true treat!
The Phantoms played a good game.  It was very close and well played by them.  Then taking home the win in overtime, following all that excitement up with a fabulous fireworks display after the game.  The Phantoms, in remembrance of that 2005 team, once again put on a show for the fans in grand scale.  I look forward to the Phantoms return to the area when the arena in Allentown is built.  There are good things happening with the team and I am eager to watch them.   

Winter Classic Dreams by Nicole Thomas


Ever since the Flyers first Winter Classic appearance back in 2010, the talk has been when or if this game would ever come to Philadelphia.  This summer’s worst kept secret was that indeed: the Winter Classic was coming to Philadelphia!!  But the event that I am the most excited for is not the Winter Classic itself.  I am most excited to see the Alumni and Phantoms games. 
I look forward to seeing some of my favorite former Flyers lace it up one more time.  To see this game played in such a unique venue as Citizens Bank Park makes it all the more better.  Of some names that I have heard slated to play in the Alumni game, I am most excited to see this year’s Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mark Howe.  Mark was my first favorite Flyer and I could not be happier for him to have these wonderful things all going on in such a short period of time.  There are many others I am excited for including Eric Lindros and John LeClair.  All of the Alumni will put on a good show for the fans.
I was privileged to attend the first AHL outdoor game in Syracuse a couple of years ago.  It was quite an event.  All I could think about at the Syracuse game was how cool it would be to see the Phantoms in the same type of an event.  I am very glad to be getting that opportunity. 
I am sure all of the games will be done in 1st class style, as I would not expect any less from this organization.  While most will be dreaming dreams of Christmas, I will be dreaming of the Winter Classic events in the weeks to come. 

Remembering Brad McCrimmon by Barb Concilio


I have been a Flyers Fan since the early 1970’s and have picked quite a few “favorite players” over the years, many of them defensemen for
the Flyers.  One of those players was #10 Brad McCrimmon.  He was such a feisty player, especially when paired with his good friend, Mark
Howe.  I loved his style of play, his heart and his enormous smile.  It was a very sad day for me when he was traded in the late 80’s to the
Calgary Flames.

In March of 2001, I traveled with quite a few others from the Fan Club to Edmonton and Calgary on one of my most memorable Road Trips. 
It was bitter, bitter cold when we arrived in Calgary to find that the city was in the midst of a city-wide transit strike.  We were very lucky to be
able to go to the Flyers practice skate the morning of their game with Calgary.  Towards the end of the practice I was standing with my friend
JoAnn Burke who said to me “look over there”.  I looked up to my left and there standing on the steps about 100 feet away from me was Brad,
who at that time was an assistant coach with the Flames.  He was talking with someone from the Philly Press Corps and when we waved at
him, he waved back.  That gave me the courage to go up to talk to him and he actually met JoAnn and me half way.  We both shook his hand
and I told him that I was a really big fan of his and he gave me that smile.  He told me that it was really nice that people still remembered him.
When JoAnn told him that there were lots of others that still felt the same way about him in Philly, he was really happy.  We asked him how he
was and he told us that he would be much happier if he could find a Head Coaching job somewhere.  I remember saying to him that it would
be nice if he found his way back to Philadelphia some day.  For the next couple of minutes we talked about the upcoming game and he then
thanked us for stopping to talk to him and he went on his way. 

I don’t recall the outcome of the game that night (I have a terrible memory for recalling the outcome of games), but I will never forget that
chance meeting with Brad.  I have been very lucky to have met and spent quality time with quite a few of my favorite players.  What I will
remember about Brad McCrimmon was his friendliness and smile – I can still see it (his smile) in my mind – both on the ice as a player,
either when he scored or when a teammate did, and as a regular guy in an arena in Calgary just having a conversation with a couple of fans.

 

PFFC Outing to the Phillies Game by Lois Witulski


It was a beautiful evening for baseball on September 19th, when several PFFC members, family and friends attended the Phillies
game vs. the St. Louis Cardinals.  Even though the Phils lost the game, it was a fun night and everyone had a great time. 
Best of Luck to the Philadelphia Phillies on their quest for a World Series Championship!  Go Phils! 

Carnival Fun by Theresa Carney



Sunday Feb 27th was a beautiful day.  The sun was out and it was warm enough where you didn't even need to wear a coat outside.
Even though the weather was wonderful, what I'll remember most about this day was that it was the 34th Annual Flyers Wives Fight
for Lives Carnival. 

As many of you know this is an annual event for me and my cousins to attend.  Even though Ryan, Zach and Paige are getting older
they still enjoy attending the carnival each year.  This year's carnival did not disappoint anyone who attended.
 
The lines formed early as thousands of Flyers fans waited patiently to enter to meet their favorite players.  Our first stop was a picture
with Kimmo Timonen and then off to purchase some mystery bags.  After that we split up to do different things.  Paige and I went to
get pictures with Brian Boucher while Ryan went off to get autographs from Dan Carcillo and Mike Richards. 
Meanwhile, Zach went to check out the games and watch people take on such Flyers as Ian Laperriere at Wii Boxing.
 
After our picture with Boucher was over, Paige and I set out to find the Fan Club table.  On our way, we stopped at the silent auction
where such items like autographed player Stanley Cup banners, t-shirts and framed pictures were being auctioned off.  We finally
made our way to the table where Lois, Bonnie and Teri were busy selling raffle tickets for the Giroux jersey.  Long lines were
constantly in front of the table due to people wanting to meet Flyers Alumni like Bernie Parent, Dave Schultz, Bob Kelly and many
others at the Pavilion. 
 
Before the day was over, Ryan and Zach were off to get Claude Giroux's autograph and I sat down to look through the program book.
In the end all of us went home happy with lots of memories made from the day.
 

Honoring a Legend by Lois Witulski

Rod Brind'Amour On-Ice Ceremony

Photos of
Rod Brind’Amour’s
on-ice ceremony.

 

Friday, February 18, 2011
 

Rod Brind'Amour On-Ice Ceremony


Rod Brind’Amour was drafted in the 1st round of the 1988 NHL entry draft by the St. Louis Blues.  After two seasons with the Blues,
Rod was traded to Philadelphia, where he
would spend 8+ seasons.  Brind’Amour was a true Flyer, a hard worker who gave a
complete effort in every game he played.  Rod compiled over 600 points during his years with the Flyers.  He was the Flyers lone
participant in the 1992 NHL All-Star Game held in Philadelphia and had his first chance at the Stanley Cup as a member of the Flyers
1997 team.  “Roddy” was a fan favorite in Philly and it was a sad day when he was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes in January, 2000.
The Flyers had lost a great leader and he was genuinely missed by many. 

But Brind’Amour quickly stepped in as a leader in Carolina, making hockey popular in a town that was known more for college
basketball than any other sport.  The Canes reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002, only to lose to Detroit.  As a member of the
Hurricanes, Brind’Amour received the Selke Award twice as the NHL’s best defensive forward.  Rod was named captain of the Canes
during the 2005-2006 season.  And later that same season, Carolina once again reached the Finals with Brind’Amour leading the way.
The Hurricanes won and Rod proudly hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first and only time in his career.  Our beloved Rod had finally
won hockey’s most cherished prize.  Over the next few years, Rod was a great mentor for Carolina’s emerging young stars and during
 last season he relinquished his captaincy, essentially “passing the torch”.  And on June 30, 2010, Brind’Amour announced his retirement.

Recently, I was among the approximately 60 PFFC members who made the trip to Raleigh for Rod’s retirement ceremony and the
Flyers vs. Hurricanes game.  Upon arriving, the PFFC took part in a surprise meet & greet with Rod.  It was such a treat to see Rod
in person.  He was excited & happy and seemed ready to move on with this new phase of his life.  Prior to the game, the #17 banner
was raised to the rafters at RBC Center in front of Rod’s family, friends, teammates and fans.  It was only fitting that this heartwarming
ceremony took place while the Flyers were in town.  Congratulations Roddy, on your amazing career and this new beginning…

Carolina on my Mind by Pam Miller


A bus load of Flyers fans were headed to Carolina to see the Flyers play the Hurricanes on Friday, February 18th and to see Flyers fan favorite
Rod Brind’Amour’s number retired.   Everyone met at the Skate Zone at 4:00 am for a 12:00 pm arrival into Raleigh where a surprise was
waiting for us.  Once we boarded the bus, trip czar Louie the Great, announced that a meet & greet with Rod was being held exclusively for
the fan club.  What a treat! 

The meeting was in one word: awesome.  Rod was outgoing, funny, and humble.  He remarked on still seeing orange and black
Brind’Amour jerseys.  He said his Hurricanes teammates always kidded him as to how many Brind’Amour jerseys would be in the arena
when they played in Philly.  Rod spent about 45 minutes with us.  After answering questions and talking about his career, he was presented
with artwork and a donation from the fan club to Rod’s favorite charity.  He took countless photos with us and signed everything put in front of
him.  As seen over the years both on and off the ice, Rod was the epitome of class in recognizing his fans one last time before embarking on
the next phase of his career.

Fans were treated to a pre-game ceremony that included past teammates as well as the Stanley Cup, which Rod was a big part of the
Hurricanes franchise winning in 2006.  The Carolina Hurricanes did an incredible job of recognizing Rod’s career stops in St. Louis,
Philadelphia, and Carolina.  During the game, montages of Rod through the years as well as congratulations from fellow players, coaches
& general managers from many NHL teams were seen on the arena vision.  There were even clips from his parents and children.  Rod’s
speech was perfect!  He included so many people that helped him during his career and made mention to the Philadelphia fans and in
particular those he met earlier in the afternoon.  He was again humble but we would expect nothing less from Rod.

The game itself held all the characteristics of playoff hockey.  You could almost sense that the Hurricanes had something to prove to their
fans and to their former Captain.  They seemed determined to win and held off the Flyers in O.T. to gain a victory.  They showed Rod standing
up and cheering the Hurricanes onto victory with his family.  As much as we always want to see a Flyers win, it wasn’t surprising to watch the Hurricanes win one for their former leader.  A special day for a special player who will always hold a place in our hearts.

The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the beautiful Raleigh weather.  Some of us went to dinner at the Angus Barn (a fan club favorite).
Others went to see the Carolina Hurricanes lose to the New Jersey Devils.  On Sunday we departed for home.  Thank you to everyone who had a hand in making this the ultimate road trip for diehard Rod Brind’Amour fans.  

Hopefully we still have one road trip in our future involving Rod: a trip to see his Hockey Hall of Fame Ceremony!

Thanks to our Guest by Lois Witulski

Flyers Senior Director of Communications Zack Hill joined the PFFC at our January meeting.  In my opinion, Zack has probably one of the most interesting positions in hockey.  His job is liaison between Flyers players & coaching staff and the media.  Zack has held this position with the organization since 1993; a job he is completely committed to and totally enjoys.  He told us how he jumps out of bed every morning thinking how lucky he is.  He explained to us his various jobs; handling trades, injuries, rumors, etc.  He also likes the community relations aspect of the job – stories that don’t necessarily pertain to the game but tell about the player’s interaction with their fans.  Zack’s job is unpredictable and keeps him busy 24/7 but it is obvious how much he loves what he does and just as obvious how good he is at doing it.

Zack loves trivia of all kinds and was nice enough to bring along some newly autographed Pucks and other prizes for the questions he asked us. 

Some of you may not know it but Zack is the person responsible for securing many of our guests for our meetings.  He is always willing to help out the PFFC by getting players, coaching staff or members of the media to join us.  When a player joins us at a meeting, Zack is always there by his side.  So it was great to finally hear the story of his job and life behind the scenes in the NHL. 

Thanks Zack for all you do for the PFFC and for joining us on a cold January night

 

STH The Frozen 14? I DON'T THINK SO!!! by Alan Ellis

Last Well, it's the middle of the winter, you’re SICK & TIRED of the cold & the snow, so how DO you cure those mid-winter blues?
 
I know....A TRIP TO CHICAGO!!!!!
 
Ah, yes.  A much anticipated late January matchup between last year's Stanley Cup finalists is just what the doctor ordered.  14 fans of the
Orange & Black ventured from one cold city to another to watch the Flyers take on the Blackhawks at the United Center. 
The “Craig Cimino 7” left on Friday afternoon (after a 2-hour delay) & the rest of us went out at different times on Saturday. 
On Saturday, Craig's group went on a tour of the city while I went to the Willis Tower (and stepped onto the "Ledge" on the103rd floor).
 Then we went to Dick's Last Resort (we need one here in Philly) for fun, food & laughs. 

After a good night's sleep, we went to breakfast at Lou Mitchell's (great place), then headed to the arena.  The place was loud as usual
during the National Anthem, as the mostly Blackhawk crowd was hoping for a repeat of last June (as well as the Bears to beat the Packers).
But the Flyers had other ideas.  Playing a solid defensive game, along with "Bob's" solid goaltending, the Flyers won the game 4-1, and
finished off a successful month with a10-2-0 record in January.  After the game, we went to Geno's East Pizza for dinner to watch the
Bears/Packers playoff game.

As everyone headed back to the hotel to reminisce about ANOTHER great trip, unfortunately I had to head home (I didn't want to go). 
However, everyone else relaxed and then headed home on Monday.  You know, it's not a great trip without great people. 
So here's to you, Lou, Bruce, Patty, Laura, Craig, Denise, Barb, Tom, Corbin (BBBB), Kevin, & Danny. 
I couldn't have had a great trip without you.

STH Early Bird BBQ by Maureen Fisher

Last February when the Flyers were in danger of not making the playoffs, it was time to place your deposit for the 2010-2011 season tickets.

As an incentive to make your deposit early, the Flyers added an exclusive event over the summer for those who participated.  The event was a Season Ticket Holder Early Bird BBQ which was held on Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at the newly renamed Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers provided a live band outside to entertain and a buffet of the usual BBQ items: hamburgers, salad, baked beans, ribs etc. 
You could take your picture with the Prince of Wales trophy (which may end up as our Christmas card picture). 

Several players were in attendance who graciously greeted fans by taking pictures and signing autographs. 
Those players were Michael Leighton, Brian Boucher, Claude Giroux, Blair Betts, James Van Riemsdyk, Scott Hartnell and Ian Laperriere. 

Joe and I thanked all the players for an awesome 09-10 season and asked several of the players what they did over the summer. 

Mr. Paul Holmgren, GM was there as was Steve Coates.  The door prizes were the shirts off the player’s backs, which we were later told were the jerseys that would have been used if there had been a game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals last June, as well as a great package to the Borgata Hotel. 

It was a great night and Joe and I were really glad we made that deposit back in February. 

Beyond All Expectations by Lois Witulski

OK so I’ll admit it.  I was one of those people who thought the Flyers wouldn’t make the playoffs.  Or if they did, they’d never make it past the
1st round.  But who could blame me?  The way things were going, I couldn’t be very optimistic.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a diehard Flyers
fan.  I always stick with the team no matter what and never give up.  But sometimes you have to face reality, it didn’t look too promising.

Well somehow along the way, this incredible Flyers team turned it around.  Was it the fact that they faced so much adversity throughout the
season?  Was it the fact they played through so many injuries that I can’t even remember them all?  Was it the fact they went through more
goalies this season than I can count on one hand?  All of these things made the team stronger and prepared them for what lie ahead…

The awesome 1st round series vs. the Devils.  Despite losing three key players to injury, the Flyers prevailed in 5 games.  The amazing
story making comeback vs. the Bruins in the 2nd round.  After trailing in the series 3-0, the Flyers won game 7 after being down by three
goals in the 1st period.  Absolutely unbelievable!  A rough & tough 3rd round series vs. the Canadians.  Great goaltending and an overall
 hardworking effort as the Flyers take the series in 5 games to become the 2010 Eastern Conference Champs.  What an unbelievable
Stanley Cup Final series vs. the Blackhawks!  After losing the first 2 games, our beloved comeback kids won the next two at home to tie
the series.  By this time I’m thinking, “Can this really happen?”  Unfortunately for us, the Blackhawks won the next two to take home the big
prize.  When the winning goal was scored in overtime of the final game, I was stunned.  I couldn’t believe it was over. 
Beyond all expectations, this relentless Flyers team had fought to the bitter end, two wins short of their ultimate goal. 

But just like the NHL’s TV ads during the playoffs, I keep thinking, what if?  What if the Flyers didn’t win the shootout vs. the Rangers on the
last day of the season to make the playoffs?  We as fans, would have been denied witnessing two months of some of the best hockey we’ll
 ever get to see.  I wouldn’t give it up for anything.  Losing in the Finals hurt, but I am so proud of this team and all they accomplished. 
Just think, only 2 months ‘til training camp, can’t wait…

A Moment of Profound Sentimentality by Jack Manning

(Facebook post 5/16/10)


So I said I was going to post something heartfelt before Game 1.  I think that it is appropriate to write a bit about this team.  Not because I
know they are going to win the Cup, I don't.  And not because I think that they aren't going to get out of this round, because if any team can,
this one can.  But because I think that the time period from about 5:35pm on April 11, 2010 (the moment the New York Rangers decided
not to participate in a clutch, season saving overtime period to guarantee themselves a shootout win) until 9:34pm on May 15, 2010 (the
precise moment that our team matched and made history following an epic comeback) I, and many of you, witnessed the most improbable
and impressive display of relentless hockey this town has seen in a long, long time.  It is when Peter Laviolette, Danny Briere, Claude
Giroux and Brian Boucher said loud and clear..."We will not die."

I have been watching the Flyers my entire life.  A life that is the length of the team's existence.  The team and I, and many of my friends, grew
up together.  My life is defined by the eras of Flyers hockey.  I remember the Cups.  I remember 1980 like it was yesterday, spinning around
in my basement listening to the "Flyers Fight Song" over and over and over again and then watching my Dad and Frank flip out over the
botched offsides (I learned many new words that day).  I remember Gene Hart's "ala Bjore Salming" and his joking with Chief about his
playing days, Mike Emrick and Prism, staying up "late" and "drinking" with my Dad during the games.  I remember Clarkie's bloodied face,
MacLeish's hair, blade measurements, the "H" in Behn Wilson's name and Propper's guffaw.  I can still see the LCB line crossing the blue
paint, Hexy tapping his stick on the pipes, the orange and black room in our house and the serene look on Pelle's face as he lay in the ICU
at Kennedy.  I remember cheering for the '85 and '87 Wales Conference Champions, being let down time and time again by the early 90's
teams, and riding high and crashing with the '97 team.  Years, decades and scores of mostly highs and a few lows. 
Wonderful memories, nonetheless.

So thank you Dad and Frank for teaching me how to watch the game.  I hope I am passing that on to my son in a similar way.  And Clarkie,
Reg, Rick, Moose, Hammer, Hound, Bernie, Dorny, Donny and the Watsons for teaching me how to love the game.  Thanks, Homer,
Propper, Ben with an H, Timmy, Glen and the Rat.  Pelle, Hexy, Poulin, Tocchet, Zezel, Brownie, Howe, Marsh and the Sutter Brutters.
You are the guys we talked about in school the day after a game and the guys we wanted to be.  And hats off to Brindy, Johnny, Jonesy,
Prims, Eric (s), Rex, Bundy and Gags.  I will NEVER forget May 4 (& 5th), 2000 and jumping around like a madman at 2:35am.  I was so
exhausted.  You might have thought I was actually playing the game!

So why is THIS team so special?  I mean, after all of those names and all of those memories I don't ever remember having this kind of
feeling about a team.  Maybe I'm getting old and sentimental.  Maybe it's my desire for the underdog to do the impossible.  Maybe it's that
I see myself in my boy and his love for the game.  Or maybe it is just the right time, right place and right group of people.  Think about it.
 Briere, Richie, Prongs always showing heart and never sitting back.  Lappy risking his life to prevent a goal.  That's why he's Sean's
hero...and in a way, mine too.  Gags, barely able to skate, orchestrating one of the greatest comebacks in all of sports history.  Claude
(Clode), Carbomb, Reemer, Carle, Ville Mays, Scotty and Kimmo getting the job done.  Leighton getting us close, Boosh getting us there,
and Leighton getting us closer.  And Lavvy, knowing exactly what to say, exactly when it needs to be said.  If any fan thinks that this team
doesn't have the heart, they need to be institutionalized.

And it's not just the players, either.  I am enjoying this with old friends (John, Scott, Doug, Paul, Mike) and family (Colleen, Kim, Sean,
Roman and Dad).  Relatively new friends (Julie and Vern, Cool C, Ed, Kat, Chris, Jimmy, Henirk and Mark) and Facebook friends (too
many of you to list).  And these are fans with heart.  Fans who win, lose, live and die with the team.

I've tried to analyze it.  I tried to figure out why this team is doing what they're doing and why I'm delighting in it so much.  I've looked at
stats, player bios, history and all of the hard evidence to find the answer.  All I can come up with is that it's the right place, the right time
and the right group of people...on all fronts.

Win or lose, I am having the time of my life!

Good night and good hockey.

Playing with Heart by Lois Witulski

As we mentioned in the last issue of the Puck, Flyers forward Ian Laperriere was chosen as the 2009-2010 Gene Hart Memorial Award*
winner.  This award is given annually to the “player with the most heart” as voted on by PFFC members at our monthly meetings.  During
the Flyers pregame awards ceremony on April 11th, club President Joe Fisher along with lifetime board member Evelyn Gross (who won
the opportunity to present the award by attending our monthly meetings) and Sara Hart presented Ian with a crystal trophy along with a
check in the amount of $1500.00 payable to his favorite charity.  At the same time, Ian also received the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Memorial
Award as voted on by The Philadelphia Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

Laperriere was the perfect choice for this year’s award.  Time and again, “Lappy” has sacrificed his body (not to mention his face), for the
team.  He gives a one hundred percent effort every time he hits the ice with his energy and enthusiasm.  Ian Laperriere leads by example
and is a great inspiration for his teammates, the ultimate “team” player.  And at 36 years old, he’s not afraid to drop the gloves when the
time is right.  A key player on the Flyers penalty kill, Laperriere blocked 74 shots this season (the most of any Flyers forward), two of them
resulting in horrific facial injuries.  As you know, while blocking a shot earlier this season, Ian took a puck to the mouth, lost 7 teeth and
received 70 plus stitches.  And during the 1st round of the playoffs, Ian was hit in the eye with the puck (also while blocking a shot),
resulting in 60-70 stitches.  Because of the ensuing brain contusion & mild concussion, he was sidelined for the remainder of the
postseason.  Laperriere has vowed to wear a face shield in the future, but something tells me once he’s back, his game won’t change
a bit. 

Congratulations Ian, you’ve shown us heart this whole season!  You definitely earned this one!!  Great job!

*Editor’s Note: Previous winners of the Gene Hart Memorial Award are Sami Kapanen (2007), Mike Richards (2008) and Scott Hartnell (2009)

 

Montreal Road Trip – Cool Memories by Alan Ellis 

Yeah, I know.  Now you're complaining that it's TOO WARM.  Ah, but let us harken back about three months ago.  Back to the last 2 games
before the Olympic break, a home & home series with Les Habitants.  You know, like when it was freezing and snow was on the ground. 
Well, this story should cool you off!  

It was a heckuva game at home on Friday night, in what promised to be two very exciting contests.  As the game began, the first wave of
people had already made their way up to Montreal for Saturday night's rematch.  But back at the Wachovia Center, the Flyers won the first
of the two games, with the end of the game being a little rough.  Hey, the next night was gonna be great, OOOOHHH!!  Can’t wait!
 
Shortly after the game, our bus (with 19 people) made the journey up the NJ Turnpike, Garden State Parkway & I-87 to the great Canadian
city of Montreal.  We left the Skate Zone at 12:15 AM, and after a couple of short rest stops & customs, arrived at our hotel at 8:45 AM.
 
We all checked in and went around town to eat, shop and get ready to see the rematch.  Kind of expected fireworks because of the end of
the previous night's game, but the only fisticuffs happened just 4 seconds in, with Ian "Lappy" Laperriere winning a fight over the
Habs' Ryan O'Byrne.  This seemed to lift the Flyers, because they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st period.  The Canadiens got one
back in the 2nd on a power play, but Blair Betts stole a bouncing puck from Roman Hamrlik and scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway.
That pretty much sealed it.  Then with the Flyers leading 5-1 and time winding down, Danny Briere was awarded a penalty shot.  He came in,
used 3 nifty moves and SCORRRED!!!  The 6-2 win made everyone happy and some of the group went out to celebrate. 

On Sunday morning some of us had to go home with Craig Cimino's group (they were the ones who had gone up early) but the rest of the
group stayed behind to go sightseeing.  Everyone had a great time and we returned home on Monday.  All in all, ANOTHER great trip with
great people & ANOTHER great job by Lou.

 

Was that a Dream? by Lois Witulski

What began as a glimmer of hope way back in July became a reality on New Year’s Eve 2009.  Over 100 PFFC members from Philadelphia
and beyond made their way to Boston by bus, car, train & plane to see the Flyers vs. Bruins in the NHL Annual Winter Classic game.  And I
was lucky enough to be one of them!! 

I can talk about all of the fun things we did:  a delicious New Year’s Eve dinner, watching the ball drop at midnight while toasting the New Year
and an evening out after the game in which approximately 50 members got together for dinner.  But the real focus should be on the experience
of the game so here goes... 

Mother Nature was kind and after many forecasts of rain & snow, we woke up on game day to dry skies and relatively mild temperatures. 
I bundled up anyway (better to be safe than sorry) with at least five layers on most of my body, not to mention blankets, extra gloves, hat & ear
muffs, etc.  Next, we hopped a cab to the game – I’m really starting to get excited now.  Am I dreaming???

It is hard to explain the feeling upon arriving at Fenway, the closest I could compare it to would be Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997.
Flyers fans, Bruins fans, everyone was pumped up and raring to go.  We entered Fenway around noon, a pretty cool experience in itself -
the old ballpark gives you the feeling of stepping back in time.  Our seats were in section 41 in right field, certainly not the best but at least
we were there… 

After the warm up, pregame festivities began highlighted with the singing of the Canadian & United States National Anthems, Bobby Clarke
& Bobby Orr taking part in the ceremonial puck drop and a Stealth Bomber flyover that literally shook the building.  As for the game, I must
admit I really couldn’t see much of the play on the ice but it didn’t matter, just being there was enough for me.  Fans were on their feet from
beginning to end, “Let’s Go Flyers” chants alternating with “Let’s Go Bruins” chants throughout.  There was the occasional “E-A-G-L-E-S”
chant, several “Yankees Suck” chants (something that fans from both teams agreed on) and the singing of “Sweet Caroline” (a Red Sox
tradition, I’m told).  It was one big party in the stands with lots of good-natured banter, an electric atmosphere with everyone having an all-out
great time.  I watched, listened and cheered for my Flyers, just taking the whole scene in.  As I’m sure you know, the Flyers played tough and
held a 1-0 lead for most of the game but caught a few bad breaks at the end of the third, paving the way to a Boston victory in overtime. 
Despite the loss at least the Flyers grabbed a much needed point.  It was an unbelievable day, a great weekend and a once in a lifetime
experience that I will never forget.  I guess I wasn’t dreaming after all - I was there!!

Westward Bound (or Did we start it all"??) by Lou Milano

When peeking at the schedule in mid-July, the guy that sits next to me (pity poor Bruce Rizzo, who has the pleasure of me burping in his face, stepping on his toes every game, etc.) suggested that the games in San Jose and Phoenix looked interesting so we investigated, booked and off we were.  A few weeks into the season Denise and Craig Cimino decided to join in the fun.  So, it's 11/19/09 and we're ready to depart for the West Coast and...

This was the day the FAA had issues with their booking systems so flights were cancelled, delayed etc.  The four of us were flying to San Jose via Denver (with only a 1/2 hour layover) so the connection would be close.  Our flight was scheduled to depart at 4:40 PM ET.  At approximately 3:30 PM, we discovered the flight to Denver was cancelled.  However, by the time we arrived at the airport Denise Cimino (who was playing mom, great friend, all around planner...) had booked the four of us through Las Vegas and even though this flight was delayed we were able to make our connection (Denise wished we had STAYED, but this is another story...) with us arriving in San Jose an hour early.  As soon as we arrived, my friend Jim Walsh picked us up, transported us to our hotel and took us to a Brew House called BJ's where we ate, drank and had a great time.  I'm still impressed Jim was able to get most of the ice cream dessert home without it melting!  Many thanks to him for making our stay in San Jose great (despite the game) and for arranging the tickets. 

Friday, 11/20/09:  After breakfast in the hotel, the four of us just lounged in the lobby and "hanged".  Around 1 PM we decided to drag our lazy … to the Oakridge Mall where we had lunch as we browsed through the Mall, through the sports shops, etc.  I bought a SF Giants ski cap (hey, you get the chance to purchase something black & orange...).  Then, we noticed a furniture store called (believe it or not) MILANO'S where I noticed a burnt orange lounge chair.  Hmmm, but when I saw the shipping charge was sky high I decided to pass.  However, there's another store in Central NJ so...stay tuned.  Later that day, Jim picked us up and we were off to the game where we met up with some old friends who usually attend the NHLBC Convention (by the way, this is where we meet most of the people from other cities--you MUST attend one!!).  The game was strange to say, and the Flyers hung in until close to the end of the game.  Most of you remember the final score so I won't rehash.  After the game, Jim and some of his buds took us to a pizza place where we mingled and had a great time (the pizza wasn't bad either...).  Just FYI, this is what we do when other clubs visit.  The next time a visiting Booster Club travels here, join us in the gathering.  We had to break up the party around midnight due to our 5 AM wakeup call for our 7 AM flight to Phoenix the next morning. 

Saturday 11/20/09: Our flight to Phoenix was unusually uneventful (I say this ‘cause there have been issues on the last few air trips--not to mention 11/19) and we arrived on time.  After arriving at the hotel, we ate lunch at Margaritaville outside Jobing.Com Arena.  By the way, the
scene outside Jobing.Com Arena is so cool, in my mind the Coyotes can't leave the area.  There's a McFadden's, Brewpub and many other local establishments that are located footsteps (yes, even in Lou terms) from the arena.  If our Philly Live is anything like this, we're in for a treat!!  After this came the family reunions; Craig Cimino with his cousins (Harry, Rae Ann) and me with mine (Nick, Judy and Chuck) who have relocated to Arizona.  It was especially funny that my cousins were wearing hats and sweaters despite the 65 degree+ weather, while I was in shorts!!  It was totally cool that everyone, including our families and PFFC Member Nick Semkiw, were able to attend the game.  The game was, well sucky, but we had a great time despite the outcome.  I enjoyed hearing the AWWWWWWOOOLL from various spots inside the arena.  Afterwards we hung out with all the families and friends from Phoenix (say hey Sherry, Josh, Christy and Joe).  Everyone had a great time.  By the way, just like our San Jose friends, these are also people who we’ve met at the NHLBC Convention.  You should plan on coming this summer (2nd weekend of August, hosted by the Pittsburgh Penguins Booster Club).  Special thanks to Sherry for arranging the tickets. 

Sunday, 11/21/09:  It was time for Bruce and me fly home, while the Cimino's and their cousins soaked up another day in the desert...  Even though the Flyers left these two games with ZERO points, we had a great time.  But, we can't help wonder if this was the start of the slide??
Hopefully things are better now--I write this on 12/24 after a 5-2 win at Tampa last night... we'll know by the time you read this.  I hope you all had a great holiday and hopefully we saw you
at the Winter Classic.  Next up, Minnesota!!!  See you there...

Scott Hartnell Visits the PFFC by Lois Witulski

Flyers forward Scott Hartnell stopped by the Wachovia Center during our September meeting for a visit with the PFFC.

Scott Hartnell receiving the AwardScott Hartnell and President Joe Fisher

Scott Hartnell was the 2008-09 recipient of the PFFC’s Annual Gene Hart Memorial Award
      
for “player with the most heart”. 

Scott was very appreciative of receiving this award.  He told the club that his teammates deserved the award too.  He graciously accepted a check from the PFFC to be given to the charity of his choice, which he donated to the ASPCA. 
 

The PFFC thanks Scott for taking the time out of his busy schedule to visit with us.

Roll Out the Welcome Mat for Chris Pronger!  by Maureen Fisher

Chris ProngerOn June 27, Draft Day 2009, Mr. Paul Holmgren again surprised Flyer fans by negotiating a deal with the Anaheim Ducks to acquire the rights to Chris Pronger by trading Joffrey Lupul and Luca Sbisa, two first round draft picks and a conditional third round draft pick.  As my family and friends know, I have been a fan of Chris Pronger for many years.  It will be nice having him back in the Eastern Conference since the Western Conference only plays here every few years.  I was having dinner with my husband Joe when I received a call from my nephew Jimmy Schickling, informing me of the deal. He knew I would be excited about Chris coming to play in Philadelphia.  In April of 2009, Joe and I traveled for my birthday to Anaheim to watch the Ducks play their last home game of the season.  It was fan appreciation night so there were a lot of exciting things going on.  While I will miss Joffrey Lupul and especially Luca Sbisa, who was kind enough to spend some time with the Flyers Fan Club at a meeting last year, I am truly excited by this trade.

Chris Pronger has an exceptional resume.  He was drafted 2nd overall by the Hartford Whalers on June 26, 1993.  On July 27th, 1995 he was traded to the St. Louis Blues for Brendan Shanahan.  While with the Blues, in 2000 Chris was awarded both the Norris Trophy for the NHL Best Defenseman and the Hart Trophy for NHL MVP.  The only other defenseman to receive the MVP award was the great Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins in 1972. On August 23, 2005 after the NHL lockout, he was traded from the Blues to the Edmonton Oilers for 3 players.  On June 5, 2006 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Carolina Hurricanes, Chris became the first player in NHL history to score a penalty shot goal in a Stanley Cup Final game.  The Oilers eventually lost in game seven.  The next month on July 3rd Chris was traded to the Anaheim Ducks after asking the Oilers to trade him.  Ironically Chris was traded for Joffrey Lupul, a prospect, a 2007 first round draft pick and a conditional first round draft pick and Anaheim’s 2008 second round pick.  Chris and the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007 the year after losing game 7 with the Oilers.  Chris is also a member of the Triple Gold Club having won an Olympic Games gold medal, a World Championship gold medal, and the Stanley Cup.  Chris has played in five All Star Games.

Chris plays a strong, physical game and can be a scoring threat especially on the power play.  He also brings veteran leadership to the team.  He was captain of the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks as well as rotating alternate captain with the Edmonton Oilers.  It will be a great year watching Chris “handle” Sidney Crosby and the rest of the teams who try to camp in front of our net.  He has already made a difference in the first two games of this season.  He will log lots of ice time.  Mr. Holmgren signed him to a seven year contract extension that will most likely be the last of his career since Chris will have celebrated his 35th birthday on October 10th versus his old team the Anaheim Ducks.  Chris seems to be extremely fan friendly and has a great personality that comes through in his interviews.  He and his family are very generous to charities. Hopefully Chris will lead the Flyers to hoisting the Stanley Cup very soon.  I’m saving my seat on Broad Street. 

I hope all Philadelphia Flyers fans roll out the Welcome Mat for the future NHL Hall of Famer Chris and his family!

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