NOV 2022: MOVING FORWARD IN FALL!
The 2022-23 NHL hockey season is entering its second month. The Flyers Alumni Association has a busy calendar of events and fundraisers ahead. Before we get into the November edition of our Alumni Newsletter, I wanted to extend a thank you to all our Alumni who have participated in our events this year and/or plan to attend in upcoming months.
We also owe a thank you to the Philadelphia Flyers organization for making the Wells Fargo Center available to us for several Alumni-related recent events: our most recent Every Child Deserves a Bike adaptive bike presentation, the Flyers PowerPlay vs. Flyers Alumni wheelchair hockey game and the Flyers Warriors training camp before the 2022 USA Hockey Warrior Classic.
In October, the Flyers held the first “Throwback Thursday” of the season, honoring the teams and players of the 1960s and 1970s. Next up: 80s Night on Dec 1.
BRAD MARSH, Flyers Alumni Association president
Every Child Deserves a Bike: A New Milestone Reached
The “Every Child Deserves a Bike” program has become the cornerstone initiative of the Flyers Alumni Association. We are happy to announce that we have now had 15 fully customized adaptive bicycles constructed and donated to special needs youngsters in the Delaware Valley. Additionally, we have our next batch of donations in the works. As always, we are grateful to Help Hope Live for their guidance in selecting recipients who’d most benefit from our program.
At the Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 23, 2022, before the Flyers played the San Jose Sharks (and roughly an hour before the Philadelphia Phillies won the National League Championship), we presented an adaptive bike to six-year-old Evangeline Torres of Bridgton, NJ.
Brad Marsh, Bob “the Hound” Kelly and Hockey Hall of Famer Bill Barber were on hand to make the gift to Evangeline. During a stoppage in play during the first period, Evangeline was introduced to the Wells Fargo Center crowd, beaming as she sat by her mom and saw herself on the giant video screen.
Now in first grade, Evangeline was born with Cerebellar Atrophy; a disorder that affects nerves in the back of her brain and affects her balance, ability to independently stand and walk, her speech, and muscle movements. She has leg braces and uses a walker. The adaptive bike will be of major benefit in training muscles and gaining more independent movement.
2022 Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp
From August 19 to August 21, we held our eighth annual Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp. As with every previous edition, the Camp was completely sold out with attendees coming not only from local areas but from across the United States and Canada. The re-opening of the U.S./Canada border enabled several of our regular attendees from Canada to return for the 2022 event.
In addition to the three days of on-ice competition, with Team River Rock Academy capturing the Fantasy Cup championship, we had an array of activities off the ice: an opening night reception at Level28 (the private club atop AKA University City at 28th and Walnut St.), a party suite at a Phillies vs. Mets game at Citizens Bank Park with visits from various Phillies Alumni including Mickey Morandini, Gary Matthews and Dickie Noles from past NL pennant or World Series winning Phillies team and a closing reception dinner at the Class of 1923 rink.
Our Flyers Alumni coaches this year were as follows:
Team River Rock: Mark Howe and Mike Knuble
Team Toyota: Keith Jones, Mark Recchi and Joe Watson
Team KLYR: Bill Barber, Brad Marsh, and Dave Poulin
Team Yuengling: Danny Briere and Dave Brown
As always, a huge thank you goes out to Bob “the Hound” Kelly for organizing and managing the Fantasy Camp, along with the yeoman work of Rob Baer. Thank you, also, to Lou Nolan for doing the public address announcing to give the event an additional “NHL-like” touch and to Flyers Warriors’ president Bill Duffy.
For a day-by-day Fantasy Camp journal, which includes selected profiles of various participating players, photos from each day, box scores and game summaries, see the story on our FlyersAlumni.net official website: Alumni Fantasy Camp: 2022 Journal – Flyers Alumni.
Flyers PowerPlay vs. Flyers Alumni: Wells Fargo Center
On Oct. 1, 2022, the Flyers Alumni helped the Flyers PowerPlay program celebrate their 2022-23 season by facing off for a friendly game of wheelchair hockey at the Wells Fargo Center. A special thank you goes out to the Philadelphia Flyers and Comcast-Spectacor for temporarily halting the ongoing renovations project at the Wells Fargo Center and making the arena event floor available for the Flyers Alumni vs. Flyers PowerPlay game.
Participating Flyers Alumni: Bukk Barber, Jim Watson, Riley Cote, Doug Crossman, Todd Fedoruk, Bob Kelly Neil Little, Brad Marsh, and Chris Therien.
We were defeated, 12-8, in the game. More important, we had the chance to show our ongoing support for the FlyersPower Play program and celebrate what lies ahead as their power wheelchair hockey program moves ahead after COVID pandemic restrictions have been lifted. The Flyers Alumni and Flyers PowerPlay enjoy a close and mutually supportive relationship, much like the Alumni and the Flyers Warriors and the Alumni with Flyers Special Hockey.
Several years ago, the Philadelphia Flyers adopted the Flyers PowerPlay as the official power wheelchair hockey affiliate of the NHL organization. Flyers Youth and Amateur Hockey program director Rob Baer is integral to overseeing the ongoing relationship with the Flyers PowerPlay organization.
The Flyers PowerPlay won back-to-back North American power wheelchair hockey championships, emerging victorious in tournaments featuring teams from across the United States and Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponements of the 2020 and 2021 tournaments
2022 Warrior Classic Training Camp
As they prepared for the 2022 USA Hockey Warrior Classic tournament in Troy, MI, the Flyers Warriors opened their training camp with a practice at the Wells Fargo Center on September 17.
The Flyers Warriors have grown so rapidly that after sending one team to the 2019 Warrior Classic (Las Vegas, NV), they had three entries when the tournament returned in 2021 (with the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees as the primary location). In 2022, there were four Flyers Warriors squads for the tourney in Michigan.
The Flyers Hall of Fame brother due of Joe and Jim Watson were on-ice guest instructors for the first day of the Flyers Warriors 2022 training camp. John LeClair was on hand for the jersey presentation ceremony for new Flyers Warriors players. Brad Marsh serves as Flyers Warriors head coach, assisted by Rob Baer.
The Flyers Warriors Tier 4 team won their Tier championship in Troy, while Tier 2 made it to final. Tier 1 was unable to repeat as national champions for a second straight year and Tier 3 also fell a little short of our goal of sweeping all tier championships as happened in the 2021 Warrior Classic. Even so, it was a tremendous tourney and it’s great to see Warrior Hockey programs taking off nationwide.
Throwback Thursday 1: The 1960s and 70s
For the 2022-23 season, the Flyers will hold a series of “Throwback Thursday” games, spotlighting the organization’s history through the years. Alumni participation is a big part the allure of these events, which will also include video presentations, articles on the PhiladelphiaFlyers.com and FlyersAlumni.net websites, music from each decade (including the return of an-arena organist for the early era throwbacks), and televised features on NBCSP.
The first event was held on Oct. 27, honoring the 1960s and 1970s. Attending Alumni included Bill Barber, Bernie Parent, the Watson Brothers, Orest Kindrachuk, Bob Kelly and Joe Kadlec.
The remaining schedule of Throwback Thursday nights is as follows:
Dec. 1 – 80s Night
Jan. 5 – 90s Night
Jan. 19 –2000s Night
Feb. 9 – 2010s Night
Mar. 23 – All Decades Night
Learn to Play Rookie Program: 2022-23
The fall sessions of the annual Learn to Play Rookie Program, an initiative participated in by every NHL team and sanctioned both by the NHL and the NHL Players Association, are underway at various rinks around the Delaware Valley.
Flyers Alum Riley Cote is very active as a Learn to Play coach, working with the kids on the ice. Brad Marsh also participates as an instructor. We’d like to get more locally based Flyers Alumni involved. It’s rewarding, it helps give back to the game and the local community. Additionally, it’s an opportunity to earn some supplementary income.
If you are interested in getting involved, contact Brad Marsh or Rob Baer. A schedule of clinics for the 2022-23 fall, winter and spring seasons is here: Flyers – Learn to Play Hockey – NHL.
Flyers Alumni in the News
Reggie Leach: On Oct, 20, 2022, Reggie received the Order of Canada from the Governonr General of Canada. The award is the nation;s second-highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, after only the Order of Merit..
Scott Hartnell recently obtained his U.S. citizenship.
Luke Richardson is the new Chicago Blackhawks’ head coach.
Jim Montgomery is the new head coach of the Boston Bruins.
Sydney Daniels, the daughter of Flyers Alum Scott Daniels, is now a scout for the Winnipeg Jets.
In Memoriam: Andre Payette
Andre Payette, a member of the 1997-98 Calder Cup winning Philadelphia Phantoms and a Flyers draft pick back in 1994 (10th round, 244th overall), passed away at age 46 on Sept. 28.
Payette, a large-framed, demonstrative and tough-as-nails enforcer on the ice, was a friendly, humorous and fundamentally kind-hearted man off the ice. Sadly, he battled for many years with sobriety and mental health issues. After hitting rock bottom a couple of years ago, he moved back from England to his native Canada. He was doing much better. Payette started a successful contracting business, reconnected with family, stayed in daily touch with his son Oliver (who lives in England with his mother), coached youth hockey and also reconnected with old friends and teammates. He appeared to be in his best space in many years.
The saddest part of Andre’s passing is that 10-year-old Oliver has lost his father. For all of Andre Payette’s struggles, he adored his son and it was their relationship that kept Payette fighting to get better every time he’d slip and fall in battling his demons.
Payette spent many years playing in the UK, where he was a fan favorite wherever he played. Nicknamed “Wild Thing”, he accumulated more than 3,000 penalty minutes in his career. He loved interacting with fans — whether in person or via social media — and he often expressed his appreciation to them for being able to live out his dream of playing professional hockey. The former Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound never played in an NHL regular season game but he spent parts of six seasons in the AHL and then 11 years playing in the UK.