Then and Now: Kerry Huffman

By Bill Meltzer
By most any measure, Kerry Huffman had a successful career as a hockey player. The vast majority of players who have ever laced up skates professionally, including those who reach the NHL level, would gladly trade careers.
Huffman was a first-round pick in the 1986 NHL Draft and debuted in the National Hockey League at the tender age of 18. He played 401 regular-season games and 11 playoff games -- including 207 regular season games and eight playoff matches with the Philadelphia Flyers. Along the way, he even had a double-digit goal-scoring season for Philadelphia.
During his early playing days, Huffman was asked to shoulder a bigger load than he was ready to handle. He was physically capable but not mentally ready for the challenge. Playing successfully at the major junior level is one thing. Translating that success to National Hockey League  level is quite another, especially under the ultra-demanding scrutiny of a coach such as "Iron" Mike Keenan and in front of the fans in Philadelphia.
Defensemen tend to take longer time than forwards to develop and reach their prime, and Huffman was no exception. The position has a lower margin for error.There is a very high attrition rate for defensemen, whether via injury or roster displacement. In their developmental phase, young defensemen typically navigate a trickier learning curve when they graduate from the junior level to the pros and require considerable nurturing to fulfill their potential.

MacLeish and Nolan Earn Philadelphia HOF Induction

Congratulations to Broad Street Bullies era Flyers star Rick MacLeish and to Flyers public address announcer Lou Nolan for being selected for induction into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place in November.
MacLeish, the first Flyer to have a 50-goal, 100 point season (1972-73), led the team in scoring during the 1974 playoffs (13 goals, 22 points in 17 games) and tallied the Stanley Cup winning goal in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final against Boston. The next year, MacLeish once again paced the team in playoff scoring (11 goals, 20 points) as the Flyers won their second straight Cup. 

Flyers Honor Watson and Brind'Amour with Hall of Fame Induction

By Bill Meltzer
The Philadelphia Flyers announced on Tuesday that two heart-and-soul players from different eras of team history -- 1970s to early 1980s defenseman Jimmy Watson and 1990s center/left winger Rod Brind'Amour -- will be inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame. The two will accept induction in pregame ceremonies prior to two separate games during the 2015-16 season.
“Jimmy Watson and Rod Brind’Amour are two players who played the game in a way that truly epitomized Philadelphia Flyers hockey," Flyers Chairman Ed Snider said in a statement. "They were hard-working, team leaders both on and off the ice who played with a lot of intelligence, grit, and determination. This is a very deserving honor for both of them, and I couldn’t be happier to welcome these outstanding men into the Flyers Hall of Fame."

Flyers Greats Hit the Links for You Too Animal Rescue

Due to a scheduling conflict over Easter weekend, the Flyers Alumni benefit hockey game at the Rink at Lehigh Valley to support You Too Animal Rescue was rescheduled for September. In the meantime, the Alumni are supporting the cause in a variety of other ways. 
Bernie Parent, who is one of the organization's most ardent supporters, did an autograph-signing fundraiser earlier this year on behalf of the animal rescue. On July 16, Joe Watson and Bob "the Hound" Kelly will be the featured attractions at a golfing event at Wedgewood Golf Course in Coopersburg, PA. Participation is open to the public ($75 fee) with a July 9 registration deadline. 
You Too Animal Rescue is a group of volunteers who have been working from their homes for the past few years. In 2014, they rescued and found homes for 175 cats and kittens and 10 dogs. They recently obtained non-profit status, which will help with raising money. Right now, all money raised has gone directly to medical bills. Food, transportation and other expenses come from the volunteers.   While their main focus has been and spaying and neutering, a goal this year is to get a much-needed building, which will be a lot easier for the animals and volunteers. 

Sarah Therien's Greatest Gift Benefited a Nation

By Bill Meltzer
Note: This article was published on on June 18, 2015.
This week marks the ninth anniversary of the passing of Chris Therien's 32-year-old sister, Sarah Beth Therien, in Ottawa from sudden cardiac arrest. 
Sarah, a longtime employee of the Canada Safety Council, was a bright, energetic and seemingly healthy young woman when she lapsed into unconsciousness following the onset of a heart arrhythmia. She never awoke. Parents Emile and Beth Therien were faced with the unspeakably painful decision of whether to keep her on breathing machines or to donate her organs so that others might live. The Theriens honored her spirit by choosing the latter on June 17, 2006.