Flyers Alumni: 50th Anniversary & Beyond

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A look at some of the highlights of how the Flyers Alumni Association celebrated the Flyers' golden anniversary and what's in store in the months to come. 

 

Golden Anniversary and Beyond
By Brad Marsh

This season, the Philadelphia Flyers celebrated their golden anniversary. It was a time to celebrate 50 campaigns in the NHL while continuing to build toward a bright future. The Flyer Alumni Association has done the same.
 
Our signature event of the 2016-17 season was the Alumni 's 50th Anniversary Weekend (Jan. 13-14, 2017), at which more than 50 Flyers Alumni representing every generation of franchise history -- including a special reunion of most of the surviving members of the inaugural 1967-68 team -- got together with loyal Flyers fans for a reception at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadephia. The next night,the Flyers Alumni team took on the Penguins Alumni team at the sold-out Wells Fargo Center. 
 
Flyers Alumni also took center stage during the team's five special Heritage Nights -- Hall of Fame Night, Tough Guys Night, Goalies Night, Playoff Heroes Night and Captains Night -- interspersed over the course of the season.
 
The Alumni team even embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Russia, visiting and playing games in three cities (Kazan, St. Petersburg and Moscow) while meeting with a host of Russian hockey figures and dignitaries. 
 
In the meantime, the Flyers Alumni Association continued our tradition of community service, with both our traditional volunteer events during the holidays and various local fundraising games supporting numerous worthy causes. Our pledge to donate $2 million toward the construction of the Edward M. Snider/ Flyers Alumni Rink in conjunction with Snider Hockey is making steady fundraising progress.
 
As we move into the summer of 2017, the Flyers Alumni are looking forward to our first annual Flyers Charity Classic bicycling event in conjunction with Flyers Charities and the City of Philadelphia. Still ahead are the 2017 Alumni Golf Invitational at Dupont Country Club and the third annual Flyers Alumni Fantasy Hockey Camp in Atlantic City from Aug. 18-21.
 
In the long-term, we continue to take steps toward building on our traditions and starting new ones. Here's to the success of the next 50 seasons of Flyers hockey and the continued work of the Flyers Alumni! 
 
marsh_intro.jpgBRAD MARSH
Flyers Alumni Association President
Flyers Director of Community Development
 
 
 
 
 
FLYERS ALUMNI PLEDGE $2M TOWARD SNIDER/ALUMNI RINK
 
On February 11, 2016, Flyers Alumni Association president Brad Marsh presented a symbolic $2 million check to Scott Tharp, the president of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation along with student-athletes from Snider Hockey. The presentation took place at the Wells Fargo Center.  
 
The new facility will be called the Edward M. Snider / Flyers Alumni Ice Rink.
 
“The Flyers Alumni would like to show our appreciation to Mr. Snider, who has made such a vast impact on our careers and lives, by making this pledge,” said Brad Marsh.
 
The likes of Flyers President Paul HolmgrenBernie ParentBill ClementBob “the Hound” KellyBrian ProppDave “the Hammer" SchultzJoe Watson and Chris Therien were also on hand along with Marsh.
 
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FLYERS ALUMNI GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND 
 
From January 13-14, 2017, the largest-ever gathering of Flyers Alumni from every generation of team history was held in celebration of the team's golden anniversary. More than 50 Alumni -- participants in the 50th Anniversary Alumni Game, special guests serving as honorary coaches, equipment managers and trainers plus reunited members of the 1967-68 Flyers team -- were on hand.
 
Golden_Anniversary_Reception.jpgOn the first evening, a gala reception was held at the Sugarhouse Casino in Philadelphia with hundreds of Flyers fans in attendance. The next night, the Flyers Alumni Team took on the Penguins Alumni Team in the 50th Anniversary Alumni Game at the Wells Fargo Center.
 
The 50th Anniversary Game marked the first time the fully intact versions of arguably the three top lines in Flyers history -- the LCB Line, the Legion of Doom, and the trio of Brian Propp, Dave Poulin and Tim Kerr -- suited up together. The game also featured a host of other Flyers' Alumni notables. Our lineup:
 
Bill Barber Bob Clarke - Reggie Leach
John LeClair - Eric Lindros - Mikael Renberg
Brian Propp - Dave Poulin - Tim Kerr
Simon Gagne -Danny BriereTodd Fedoruk
Murray Craven - Orest Kindrachuk - Bob Kelly and Dave Brown
 
Joe Watson Jim Watson
Brad Marsh - Mark Howe
Luke Richardson - Eric Desjardins
Terry Carkner - Kjell Samuelsson
 
Brian Boucher / Neil Little
 
Angotti_faceoff.jpgIn addition to the players suiting up in uniform, a host of other Flyers Alumni participated as coaches and special guests. The ranks include the likes of Keith PrimeauDave "the Hammer" SchultzDoug Crossman, Ed HospodarBill ClementLarry GoodenoughPaul HolmgrenAndre "Moose" DupontDarren JensenDon SaleskiRay Allison and Terry Crisp.
 
To top it all off, Alumni Weekend featured a very special reunion of most of the surviving members of the inaugural Flyers team from the 1967-68 season. Attendees on hand included Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent, his longtime netminding partner Doug Favell, inaugural season captain Lou Angotti, Leon RochefortBrit SelbyForbes KennedyJohn MiszukJoe WatsonGarry Peters and Don Blackburn.
 
Other participating familiar faces from Flyers history and the Flyers Alumni Team included equipment managers and trainers Dave CulpDave "Sudsy" SettlemyreKevin Cady and Jim "Turk" Evers.
 
 
FLYERS ALUMNI VS. PENGUINS ALUMNI REMATCH 
 
On Feb. 5, 2016, two teams of Flyers Alumni -- Team White and Team Orange -- faced off at sold out Santander Arena in Reading, PA for a special "all the family" game featuring Flyers players from every decade. The event raised $85,000 for Reading Royals Charities ($40,000 to benefit the Reading community), the Flyers Alumni Association and Flyers Charities. 
 
After the smash success of the 50th Anniversary Game at Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 14, 2017, the Flyers Alumni and Penguins Alumni held a rematch at Santander Arena on March 18, 2017. Proceeds again went to Reading Royals Charities, the Flyers Alumni Association and Flyers Charities.
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The game in Philadelphia was played to a 3-3 tie. In Reading, the Flyers Alumni Team built a quick 4-0 lead and went on to win, 8-6, highlighted by a hat trick from Dan Carcillo in his first-ever Alumni Game. Our lineup in Reading:
 
John LeClair - Eric Lindros - Paul Holmgren
Brian Propp - Danny Briere - Todd Fedoruk
Bob Kelly - Dan Carcillo - Dave Brown
 
Joe Watson - Jim Watson
Terry Carkner - Doug Crossman
Brad Marsh - Larry Goodenough
 
Ray Emery / Brian Boucher
 
The guest coaches for the Flyers' Alumni Team side were Bernie ParentDave Schultz and Bill ClementLou Nolan served as the public address announcer. Lauren Hart sang the anthem. The Flyers trainers/ equipment managers included Dave "Sudsy" SettlemyreJim "Turk" Evers and Dave Culp.
 
 
FLYERS ALUMNI GOLF INVITATIONAL
 
The 2016 Flyers Alumni Golf Invitational place on July 18, 2016 at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. The fun-filled but competitive event raised nearly $250,000. The 2017 Flyers Alumni Golf Invitational will be held on June 26, 2017 at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington.
 
Laperriere_golf.jpgParticipating Flyers Alumni at the 2016 event: Ray AllisonBill BarberFrank BatheCraig BerubeBrian Boucher,  Jesse BoulericeDanny BriereTerry CarknerLindsay CarsonJeff ChychrunBob ClarkeBill ClementSteve CoatesRiley CoteDoug CrossmanBarry DeanEric DesjardinsAndre 
DupontDoug FavellTodd FedorukRoss FitzpatrickMark FreerLarry GoodenoughTJ GorencePaul HolmgrenEd HospodarMark Howe, Kerry HuffmanBob KellyTim Kerr, Orest KindrachukMike KnubleIan LaperriereMitch LamoureauxNeil LittleBrad MarshPhil MyreBernie ParentDave PoulinBrian ProppChris ProngerLuke RichardsonDon SaleskiDave Schultz (attending but not golfing), Ilkka SinisaloDerrick Smith, and Joe Watson.
 
On October 25, 2016, the Flyers Alumni Association welcomed the sponsors and participants in the 2016 Flyers Alumni Golf Invitation to a suite in the Wells Fargo Center to thank them for making the event a smashing success. 
 
During a stoppage of play in the second period of the game between the Flyers and Buffalo Sabres, the Alumni presented ceremonial checks to the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation for  $200,000 and to BLOCS for $46,582.
 
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FLYERS ALUMNI FANTASY HOCKEY CAMP
 
The 2016 Flyers Alumni Camp took place from Aug. 19-22, 2016 in Atlantic City. The second annual event was an advanced sellout. Participating Flyers Alumni included Mark HoweDanny BriereBrad MarshAndre DupontTodd FedorukBob KellyIan LaperriereBernie Parent, Dave Poulin and Joe Watson.
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The 2017 Fantasy Camp will be held in Atlantic City from Aug. 18-21, 2017.The camp provides adult hockey players of all skill levels with the opportunity to interact with Flyers legends both on and off the ice. Proceeds from Fantasy Camp will benefit the Flyers Alumni and Flyers Charities. 
 
 
FLYERS ALUMNI IN THE COMMUNITY AND ON THE ICE
 
Every year during the holiday season, the Flyers Alumni volunteer their time to work with three facilities that serve the poorest members of the Delaware Valley Community. That tradition continued this past year.
 
On Nov. 16, 2016, the Flyers Alumni i worked in conjunction with Sysco Foods to deliver a truckload Thanksgiving food -- turkey with all the traditional fixings -- to the St. Francis Inn ministries in Kensington.  Participating Alumni included Danny BriereBrian BoucherTerry CarknerDoug CrossmanBrad Marsh, Bob "the Hound" Kelly and Brian Propp.
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On Dec. 20, 2016, the Alumni made good on our annual pledge to assist St. John's Hospice in feeding the homeless at their facility at 1221 Race St in Philadelphia. Participating Alumni included Doug CrossmanBob Kelly, Neil LittleBrad MarshBrian ProppDon Saleski and Joe Kadlec.
 
The month of December also saw the Alumni work again with Cityteam in delivering holiday gifts to less fortunate families in the Delaware Valley.  On an ongoing basis, Cityteam provides support and basic daily needs to the poor and homeless.
 
Throughout the 2015-16 and 2016-17 hockey seasons, Joe Watson continued to do his usual yeoman work in organizing the Flyers' Alumni Team to play in a series of fundraising hockey games in various locales around the Delaware Valley. To name just a few, the events included the Center For Autism Winter Classic (Ice Works, Aston, PA, Feb. 20, 2016), a benefit game for wounded Philadelphia Police officer Jesse Hartnett (NE Philadelphia Skate Zone, March 27, 2016), the 12th Goals for Giving NHS Benefit (NE Philadelphia Skate Zone, April 2, 2016), and the second and third annual games against Checkmates Charities to benefit IBD research and treatment (Class of 1923 Rink, Feb. 27, 2016 and NE Philadelphia Skate Zone, March 11, 2017).
 
Joe_Watson_Officer_Hartnett.jpgAll totaled, the fundraising games in which the Flyers Alumni participated from Sept. 2015 to April 2016 raised upwards of $300,000 for a variety of worthy charities, community service organizations and individuals in need.
 
 
FLYERS ALUMNI HOCKEY GOODWILL TOUR RUSSIA
 
From Feb. 13 to 22, 2017, the Flyers Alumni Team embarked on a three-city hockey goodwill tour of Russia, visiting Kazan, St. Petersburg and Moscow. We received welcomes along the lines of visiting statesmen, conducted youth hockey clinics and had the opportunity to meet a host of hockey figures from all levels of play.
 
In Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, the republic's president, Rustam Minnikhanov, and the secretary of the interior both suited up and played for Team Tatarstan. In St. Petersburg, our game against SKA Alumni sold out the city's primary hockey arena and we stayed afterwards to take in a KHL game as guests of SKA St. Petersburg. In Moscow, where the tour concluded with an outdoor shinny match on the massive rink in Red Square, we were visited by Russia's deputy minister Arkady Dvorkovich on our final day in Russia.
 
The Flyers Alumni took a nine-player contingent to Russia: Joe WatsonBrad MarshJeff Chychrun, Terry CarknerShjon PodeinAl SecordLindsay Carson and Alumni Team regular participants Chase Watson and Freddy Cassivi
 
16730531_1436935219663737_7955474027344542776_n.jpgDuring the tour, the Flyers Alumni were supplemented by a variety of players arranged primarily through tour co-organizer Scott MacPherson. These included former NHL players such as Bobby CarpenterAndrei Nikolishin and Flyers Alum forward Andrei Kovalenko. Ex-NHLer Alexander Semak played in the Kazan and St. Petersburg games, while Kovalenko was in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Longtime NHL star Alexei Yashin played for SKA Alumni in our game in St. Petersburg and played on our side as an honorary Flyers Alum in the shinny game at Red Square.
 
Throughout the tour, the Flyers Alumni team featured defenseman Sergei Gimayev, a longtime Red Army and Soviet national team player and later a national hockey commentator on Russian TV. Sadly, Mr. Gimayev passed away on March 18, 2017 at the age of 62.
 
 
FLYERS ALUMNI ABOARD THE USS MURTHA
 
On October 7, 2016, the Flyers Alumni had the privilege of being invited aboard the USS Murtha in Penn's Landing for a very special visit, including a deck hockey game. Our sincere gratitude goes out for the warm welcome we received -- truly a day we will never forget.
 
Murtha_group.jpgAmong the attending Flyers Alumni were Brian Boucher, Terry CarknerBill ClementDoug CrossmanTodd FedorukBob "the Hound" Kelly,  Neil LittleBrad MarshJim Watson and Joe Watson.
 
 
ALUMNI AT 40TH FLYERS WIVES CARNIVAL AND NHL CENTENNIAL
 
Each year, the Flyers Alumni work in conjunction with Flyers Charities and the Flyers Wives to have an Alumni presence at the annual Flyers Wives Carnival at the Wells Fargo Center.  The 40th edition of the Carnival was held on Nov. 6, 2016.
 
During the final weekend of the Flyers' 2016-17 season (April 8-9, 2017), the traveling NHL Centennial exhibition came to the Wells Fargo Center complex. Flyers Alumni were prominently involved in the festivities. Apart from meeting fans for photograph and autograph opportunities, Flyers Alumni and the Stanley Cup were part of a special power wheelchair floor hockey game held in conjunction with Philadelphia Power Play.
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FLYERS ALUMNI RINK TAKEOVER AT WISSAHICKON SKATING CLUB
 
On February 5, 2017, the Flyers and Flyers Alumni put our own touch on Hockey Week Across America with a surprise "rink takeover" at the Wissahickon Skating Club before and during a game between nine-year-old and 10-year-old players for the Wissahickon Warriors and Hatfield Ice Dogs. 
 
While the Flyers ice Girls, Flyers Fun Patrol, in-game personality Shawny Hill and a full drumline entertained and a crowd of cheering Flyers fans filled the bleachers, the youngsters completed their pregame warmups on the ice. As the returned to their dressing rooms, we surprised the kids by presenting the Warriors with personalized Flyers 2017 Stadium Series jerseys while the IceDogs received Flyers 50th Anniversary jerseys.
 
As the kids returned to the ice for the game, Lou Nolan handled public address duties, including introductions of all the players, while Lauren Hart sang the anthem.
 
 
FLYERS 50th ANNIVERSARY: HERITAGE NIGHTS
 
Over the course of the Flyers' 50th Anniversary season, the team staged a series of five "Heritage Nights" at the Wells Fargo Center to honor the history of the team and both Alumni who attended as special guests of the team as well as those who were unable to attend. The nights were as follows:
 
• Flyers Hall of Fame Night (Oct. 27, 2016): All members of the Flyers Hall of Fame, both living and deceased were recognized on this night. Most either directly took part in the ceremony or had a family representative present in their place. Clad in Flyers 50th Anniversary jerseys, the honorees formed a circle around center ice.
 
• Tough Guys Night (Nov, 17, 2016): The honorees, as voted by Flyers fans before the season, were on hand as guests of the team, viewing the game from the Alumni's balcony suite. Each received a video tribute and was interviewed during a stoppage of play during the Flyers vs. Winnipeg game. The honorees: Dave "the Hammer" Schultz, Dave Brown, Rick Tocchet and (current Flyers assistant coach) Ian Laperriere.
 
Tuve_Kerstin_Bernie_Cady.jpg• Goalies Night (Dec.  8, 2016): Organized similarly to Tough Guys Night, honorees were chosen by Flyers fan vote in an online poll. The honorees were Bernie Parent, (current Flyers general manager) Ron Hextall. the late Pelle LindberghBrian Boucher and Pete Peeters. Pelle was represented by Kerstin Somnell (nee Pietzsch), his long-time girlfriend and fiancee at the time of his death in Nov. 1985. In a very special moment off-camera, Kerstin was reunited with Parent. Bernie was not only Pelle's goaltending coach with the Flyers but his childhood idol and later, his dear friend. Bernie and Kerstin had not seen one another since Pelle's funeral, and this was just Kerstin's second visit to Philadelphia since moving from the area in 1986. Perhaps fittingly, the Flyers won that night's game against the Edmonton Oilers with an overtime goal against Swedish netminder Jonas Gustavsson on their 31st shot of the game.
 
Playoff Heroes Night (Jan. 12, 2017): Timed to closely coincide with Alumni Weekend, a host of Flyers Alumni -- both the guys traveling from out-of-town for Alumni Weekend and numerous Alumni who live in the Delaware Valley -- were on hand for Playoff Heroes Heritage Night. Among others, the entire LCB line (Reggie Leach, Bill Barber and Bob Clarke) was at the game. So, too, were the likes of Dave PoulinDanny BriereBrian ProppBrad MarshSimon GagneBernie ParentKeith Primeau and many more. Leach, Gagne, Briere, Poulin and Primeau were all interviewed on-camera by Brian Smith during stoppages in addition to the series of video highlight presentations.
 
captains_1.jpg• Captains Night (Feb. 2, 2017): Many of the top leaders in Flyers history were on hand to be honored for their individual and collective legacies as Flyers captains: inaugural team captain Lou AngottiBob ClarkeBill BarberDave PoulinEric Lindros and Chris Pronger.
 
 
 
 
FLYERS CHARITY CLASSIC SET FOR JULY 16
 
The Flyers Alumni Association is proud to participate in a major new annual summertime bicycling, running and walking event scheduled for July 16, 2017. Formed in partnership with Flyers Charities and g4 Productions, the Philadelphia Flyers Charity Classic encompasses a 5k walk or run, a 10-mile family bike ride as well as 50k and 100k bike rides.
 
Charity_Classic_logo.jpgProceeds benefit the charities and community organizations supported by the Flyers Alumni Association and Flyers Charities. Register now at https://www.bikereg.com/flyers-charity-classic.
 
FLYERS ALUMNI: AWARDS AND HONORS (2016-17)
 
Five-time NHL All-Star defenseman Jim Watson was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame on February 29. 2016.
 
A superstar center for the Flyers in the 1990s, Eric Lindros was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto's class of 2016. He was joined by late 1970s and early 1980s Flyers coach Pat Quinn in the Builders' Category. The induction ceremony took place on Nov. 14, 2016.
 
The United States Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held in Philadelphia on Nov. 30, 2016. The Class of 2016 was highlighted by the collective induction of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey team, which featured the likes of Flyers Alumni John LeClair (already a U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer), Joel OttoPaul Holmgren (an assistant coach for the World Cup team) and subsequent Flyers notables that included the likes of Derian Hatcher and Tony Amonte.
 
As part of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame festivities, Mark Howe received the Lester Patrick Trophy for his service to Hockey in the United States. Already a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Flyers Hall of Fame and just one of five Flyers to have his uniform number retired, Howe became the sixth Lester Patrick Trophy recipient who spent an extensive portion of his career with the Flyers. Previous winners with extensive Flyers backgrounds include Ed Snider (1980), Fred Shero (1980), Bob Clarke (1980), Keith Allen (1988) and Paul Holmgren (2014).
 
The Flyers Alumni Association received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the seventh annual Shining Star Awards on Jan. 11, 2017 hosted Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia.  All proceeds from the awards gala benefited the March of Dimes. Current Flyers assistant captain Wayne Simmonds was also hand to present an award to Hayden Kelly of Harrisburg.
 
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Three Hockey Hall of Fame players with prominent Flyers ties during their careers were named to the NHL's Centennial "NHL 100" Team of the top 100 players in league history: Bob Clarke, Bernie Parent, and Eric Lindros. Defenseman Chris Pronger also earned a selection.
 
 
 
FLYERS & FLYERS ALUMNI: IN MEMORIAM (2016 and 2017)
 
Ed Snider, the co-founder, longtime majority owner of the Flyers and subsequent longtime chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, passed away on April 11, 2016 at the age of 83.
 
Rick MacLeish, a member of the Flyers Hall of Fame, charter member of the team's 50-goal club (1972-73), two-time Stanley Cup winner (1973-74, 1974-75) and scorer of the team's Cup-winning goal in Game Six of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final, passed away on May 30, 2016 at the age of 66.
 
Bob "the Count" Dailey, a standout Flyers defenseman of the late 1970s to early 1980s and the first defenseman in franchise history to attain a 20-goal season, passed away on Sept. 7, 2016 at the age of 63.
 
Ilkka Sinisalo, the Flyers' franchise all-time leading goal-scorer among European players and later a longtime scout for the organization, passed away on April 5, 2017 at the age of 58.
 
Bill Sutherland, an original Flyer who holds the distinction of scoring the first goal and, later, the first home goal in franchise history, passed away on April 9, 2017 at the age of 82.