Flyers Alumni Assist Flyers Pee-Wee Team

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Dating back to 1960, the famous Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament is the largest such competition in the world; a rite of passage for 11-year-old and 12-year-old players from across the hockey globe.

 

The tourney surpasses even Sweden’s landmark TV-Puck tournament (a nationally televised domestic tourney for players up to age 15) in the role call of future professional standouts who participated it the competition during their youth.

 

The Flyers have been actively involved for many years in supporting grass roots hockey throughout the Delaware Valley, and pee wee teams bearing the Philadelphia Flyers name have been participating in the Quebec tournament for more than 30 years.\

 

Youngsters to play for the Flyers team in past tourneys include the likes of Chris and Peter Ferraro (1985-86), Havertown native Ryan Mulhern (1985-86), Phoenixville’s Chris Bala (1992), Abington’s Chad Kolarik (2000), Chester Springs product Matt Campanele (2001-2002), Bobby Sanguinetti (2002), second-generation future pro Philip Samuelsson (2004), and Anthony DeAngelo (2008). Ambler native David Sloane, who played in the 1999 tournament, later dressed in an NHL game for the Flyers in 2009 after completing his collegiate career at Colgate.

 

This year, longtime Flyers star Simon Gagne along with Bob “the Hound” Kelly, will be coaching the Philadelphia Flyers team in the AAA class. They will serve as assistants to head coach Pat Ferrill.  Gagne himself is a tournament alum who represented Ste. Foy in the AA bracket back in 1994.

 

 It’s going to be fun, because it’s a great tournament. For me, it’s always great to see how committed these kids are to playing hockey and just how much they love the game,” Kelly said.

 

The way that youth hockey has grown around Philadelphia and all around the United States has been amazing to watch over the years. It was different back when I was playing in the NHL. Back then, there wasn’t much well-organized youth hockey outside of Minnesota, New England and parts of Michigan. Locally, the Flyers have been a big part of supporting that development. Mr. Snider and people like Joe Scott and Keith Allen all believed in getting local kids involved in hockey, and the tradition just grew from there.”

 

This year’s roster includes defensemen Declan Cottone (Hainesport, NJ), Nicholas Fascia (Blackwood, NJ),  James Mackey (Gladwyne, PA),  Joshua Player (Mount Royal, NJ), and Mason Grimley (Eagleville, PA), forwards Dominic Dalessandro (West Chester, PA),  Nick Fiore (Philadelphia, PA), Brayton Frick (Willow Street, PA), Richie DeFulvio (Burlington Twp., NJ),  Ryan Bunting (West Deptford, NJ),  Charlie Cerrato (Fallston, MD),  Griffin Erdman (Wilmington, DE),  Michael Hoffner (Bellmawr, NJ),  Jake McCaw (Yardley, PA), Christopher Pelosi (Sewell, NJ), and William Sheridan Jr. (Sewell, NJ) and goaltender Rocco Bruno (Springfield, PA) and William Stuski (Philadelphia, PA).

 

The Flyers Pee Wee team’s first game will be an exhibition tune-up against the Sherbrooke (Que.) Phoenix at the Pavillion de la Jeunesse on Sat. Feb 10. That will be followed a tournament game the next day against Team Illinois at the Videotron Centre.

 

After the first round, the tourney moves to a single-elimination phase.  If the Flyers team wins Sunday, the squad will go the first-game winners bracket and play the victor of the Montreal National vs. Detroit Honeybaked game.  If the Flyers lose on Sunday, they will go to the opposite side of the bracket and play the loser of the Montreal vs. Detroit game on Tuesday. 

 

Regardless of the outcome of the game against Team Illinois, the Flyers squad will play an exhibition against the Swiss Eastern Selects at the Aréna-Complexe Sportif Wendake on Feb. 12. Once single-elimination play begins and teams are whittled down,  the last remaining team from the game one “winners” bracket will play the final team from the other bracket for the championship.

 

We’ve built a lot of tradition and pride in the program, and there are always tough decisions to make in setting a roster because of the quality of the players we evaluate and coach,” said Rob Baer, the Philadelphia Flyers Youth and Amateur Hockey manager. “The current players work hard to represent the team and the Flyers name, and our team alumni are supportive as well as the youth hockey community in general around the Delaware Valley.”

 

The Flyers Alumni Association has also been a big supporter of the Philadelphia Flyers Pee Wee team. The Flyers Alumni recently made a substantial donation to help the team offset some of the costs associated with sending the squad to Quebec. 

 

Additionally, many of the Flyers Alumni’s own kids have represented the Philadelphia in the tournament. Past participants include Tyler Boucher (2016), Carson Briere (2012), Kelton Hatcher (2012), Jagger LeClair (2012), Cayden Primeau (2012), projected high-end 2018 NHL Draft candidate Mattias Samuelsson (2013), and Peter White (2012).

 

Indeed, a big part of the allure of the Quebec International Pee Wee tournament is the illustrious hockey legacy it represents. The majority of players selected to participate will not go on to play the game at the major junior, collegiate or pro levels. Nevertheless, playing in the tournament puts every participant in the same company with dozens of famous names.

 

Among notable players from Flyers history, there is a lengthy list of Quebec Pee-Wee Tournament alumni. A cross-section of future Flyers from across the world and from different generations to play in the tournament in their youth includes Andre “Moose” Dupont (1961), Rick MacLeish (1962), Mark Howe (1965), Reggie Lemelin (1965), Behn Wilson (1971),  Ed “Boxcar” Hospodar (1972), Paul Coffey (1974), Rick Tocchet (1977), Dan Quinn (1977), Derrick Smith (1978), Scott Mellanby (1979), Sean Burke (1980), Kerry Huffman (1981), Jeremy Roenick (1982), Darren Rumble (1982), Gilbert Dionne (1982), Mike Ricci (1984), Eric Lindros (1985 and 1987), Donald Brashear (1985), Derian Hatcher (1985), Karl Dykhuis (1986), Alexandre Daigle (1988), Ian Laperriere (1988), Ruslan Fedotenko (1993), Simon Gagne (1994), Vincent Lecavalier (1994), Dennis Seidenberg (1995), Michael Leighton (1995), Matt Carle (1998), Nikolay Zherdev (1998), Andrej Meszaros (1999), Denis Tolpeko (1999), Tom Sestito (2001), Michael Raffl (2002), Michael Del Zotto (2003) and Anthony Stolarz (2007).

 

On a leaguewide basis, future Hockey of Famers to appear in the Quebec tournament in their youth range from Guy Lafleur (1962), Gilbert Perrault (1962), Marcel Dionne (1962), Mike Bossy (1969), Mario Lemieux (1977-1978), Brett Hull (1977), Patrick Roy (1978) and Mike Modano (1982). Current-day stars who are tourney alumni include the likes of Connor McDavid (2009) and Austin Matthews (2010).