Flyers Alumni 2020-21: Moving Forward Amid Pandemic

As with every facet of society, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into the Flyers Alumni Association’s plans in 2020 and early part of 2021. Nonetheless, we have continued to move forward with our major events, fundraising initiatives and multi-media content presentations. 

One key adjustment over the past year has been to hold “virtual” events when applicable. We were also able to hold our annual Alumni Golf Invitational and Alumni Fantasy Camp with added precautions taken to minimize the coronavirus risk.

The 2020 edition of our second annual 12 Days of Christmas Season Giving program saw widespread participation from Flyers Alumni from various generations of franchise history and who live across North America. The program also provided the inspiration to launch a brand-new initiative, which we will be ready to announce shortly.

Despite the pandemic, the Flyers Alumni maintained — and strengthened — our close ties with the Flyers Warriors hockey program as well as the Flyers PowerPlay power wheelchair team.

Our condolences go out to the families of Dale Hawerchuk, Jack McIlhargey, Gary Inness, Phyllis Snider-Foreman and Dobbie Schiff Kristoff. They are mourned by the entire Flyers Alumni family.

On a much happier note, congratulations go out to Rick Tocchet for his induction into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. Last but certainly not least, our very best wishes for a happy retirement to one of the most pivotal figures in the Alumni, Flyers Hall of Famer Joe Watson, who spent 54 yours working for the Flyers organization in various capacities. 

BRAD MARSH
Flyers Alumni Association President

 

GOING VIRTUAL

The pandemic forced the cancelation of five Flyers Alumni events/fundraisers over the past year, including the second annual Friday Night Nights event, originally scheduled March 13, 2020, at 2300 Arena (the former ECW Arena) in South Philadelphia. 

The Friday Night Fights event was slated to be dedicated to the memory of Dave Schultz’s nine-year-old granddaughter, Annalise, who passed away on Feb. 26, 2020, after a brave battle with a form of pediatric brain cancer. Special guests at the event were to include not only “the Hammer” himself but the likes of Glen Cochrane, Dave Brown, Marty McSorley, Joey Kocur and Kelly Chase.  

The cancelation of Friday Night Fights came about after the City of Philadelphia closed down indoor gatherings due to the pandemic but too late to cancel the already-prepared food order from the caterer.  Brad Marsh, on behalf of the Flyers Alumni Association, donated all of the food items as a thank you to local frontline healthcare workers.

Tentatively, Friday Night Fights has been rescheduled for the fall of 2021. We will have more details in upcoming months.

Additionally, the onset of pandemic-related lockdowns necessitated the cancelation of the Flyers Alumni vs. Flyers Warriors “Showcase” game on March 27, 2020, at IceWorks in Aston, PA, and the Flyers Alumni vs. Reading Royals Alumni game the next day at Santander Arena in Reading, PA. The Alumni were also forced to postpone a private fundraiser planned at a major donor’s house, on March 14, 2020.

As the pandemic continued, the Flyers Alumni had to find creative ways to stay in touch with one another, as well as with the fans, the Flyers Warriors and the Flyers PowerPlay. Many of these events were held remotely, via Zoom. Below are some of the highlights from the past year. 

Flyers Alumni Decades show 

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In 2020, we launched a series of panel discussions on Youtube, featuring Flyers Alumni discussing memorable seasons in team history. The programs were the backbone of our launch of an expanded Flyers Alumni channel on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/PhiladelphiaFlyersAlumni)

The programs, which were watched by upwards of 5,300 viewers on YouTube and Facebook, were as follows:

* 1986-87 season: Co-hosted by Bill Clement and Liam Maguire with panelists Mark Howe, Dave Poulin, Ron Hextall, J.J. Daigneault, Mike Keenan and Mark Messier.  Watch here:  Flyers Alumni Decades: 1986-87 Season – YouTube

* 1973-74 season: Co-hosted by Bill Clement and Jim Jackson with panelists Bob Clarke, Bernie Parent, Bill Barber, Terry Crisp, and Joe Watson. Watch here: Flyers Alumni Decades “1974 Stanley Cup Championship” Second Premiere – YouTube

* 1974-75 season: Co-hosted by Bill Clement and Jim Jackson with panelists Reggie Leach, Bob “the Hound” Kelly, Terry Crisp and Joe Watson.  Watch here:  Flyers Alumni Decades, 1975 Stanley Cup Championship – YouTube

 

Zoom Get-Togethers with Flyers Warriors and Flyers PowerPlay 

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Before the local rinks re-opened and the Flyers Warriors were able to reconvene together on the ice, the Warriors and Brad Marsh organized a three-times-per-week series of online get-togethers. The most popular was “Friday Night Happy Hour”: a chance to shoot the breeze with one another as well as special Flyers Alumni guests. 

The guests included the likes of Tim Kerr, Mark Howe, Dave Poulin, Kerry Huffman,Riley Cote, Dave “the Hammer” Schultz, Dave Brown, Keith Jones, Bill Clement and Chris Therien. On weekends, the Warriors held a series of virtual workouts led by Madeline Marsh. A similar program was developed in conjunction with the Flyers PowerPlay team.

 

A Night Out… at Home 

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A virtual wine-tasting event with pre-ordered wine selections and sommelier Jimmy Quayle, we raised $34,000 on behalf of Snider Hockey. Participating Alumni included Chris Pronger, Scott Hartnell, Danny Briere, Bob Kelly, Bill Clement, Brad Marsh, Lou Nolan and Joe Kadlec.

Flyers Alumni Speaker Series

Previously, these events featuring Flyers Alumni members speaking to sponsors on motivational topics related to teamwork, leadership, dedication and commitment were held in the press conference room at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. Clients had the opportunity to watch the Flyers practice from a private balcony overlooking the rink. Due to the pandemic, we developed a Zoom version of the Speaker series in lieu of the in-person events. Most recently, we did an event for Pure Storage.

Flyers Alumni Virtual Christmas Party 

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On Dec. 20,2020, the Flyers Alumni Christmas party was held via Zoom. While wasn’t quite the same as our usual in-person get-together, Alumni living all across North America were able to participate, and we had more than 50 Alumni from every decade of Flyers history participate: the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s right up to an Alum from the 2018-19 team (Mike McKenna).

Thank you to Brad Marsh for hosting and putting it together, to Santa Coatesy for the, um, unique presents, to Jimmy Quayle and the band for the Christmas tunes they played, and to comedian Kelly Taylor. An additional thank you goes to Philadelphia Flyers Warriors players Eric Drennen and Ed McEvoy for their help on the technical side.

 

2020 FLYERS ALUMNI FANTASY CAMP 

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An eagerly anticipated annual event that sells out every available spot well in advance of the start date, the sixth annual Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp was held in University City on August 21-24, 2020. This marked a change in venue after each of the first five camps were held in Atlantic City. This year’s games took place at the Class of 1923 Arena on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

In order to be able to hold the 2020 camp, the Alumni adhered to very strict federal, state and city requirements and guidelines to minimize the risk of potential COVID-19 exposure and spread. Everyone complied and the camp went off without a hitch.

The 7th Annual Alumni Fantasy Camp is set for August 20-23, 2021, at the Class of 1923 Arena. For more information, visit https://www.nhl.com/flyers/community/alumni-fantasy-camp.

2020 FLYERS ALUMNI GOLF INVITATIONAL 

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The 2020 Flyers Alumni Golf Invitational at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington was originally slated to be held on June 25, 2020. The event was postponed until Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. There was also an Alumni players-only golf on the 8th. 

The annual Alumni Golf event is one of our pivotal fundraisers each year. The loyalty and generosity of our sponsors and participating golfers is a source of great pride and gratitude for us, especially amid the pandemic. 

THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS GIVING: 2020 EDITION 

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In 2019, the Flyers Alumni Association launched a new program designed to become an annual tradition during the holiday season: the 12 days of Christmas giving. Each day for (at least) 12 days, the Alumni association donates money, vital supplies or volunteer time to charities, educational organizations or to individuals or families in need.

This past year, there was wider involvement among the Flyers Alumni Association membership base in identifying worthy charities and people in need. Rather than exclusively serving the Delaware Valley, we helped communities in need across the United States and Canada.

The number one priority, of course, is to identify the recipients to whom the Alumni Association can bring the most-needed assistance. Secondarily, this is a way to bring the generations of Flyers Alumni closer together with the Association to unite for good causes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused alarming levels of food assistance needs in communities across the United States. The Flyers Alumni Association put a little extra emphasis this year on prioritizing 12 Days recipients who meet this need in their communities. Apart from CFR in Rochester, the Flyers Alumni is once again assisting the Toyota Food Drive on behalf of Philabundance. Additionally, the Alumni selected at Huffman’s suggestion, the Bucks County Housing Group, which provides food pantry assistance in addition to aiding people dealing with crises related to looming homelessness or social service needs.

The 12 Days of Giving recipient list in 2020, as with the inaugural edition in 2020, was designed to be a mix of organizations and specific individuals and families. Listed below is each of the donation recipients. As you can see, it was a true team effort:

* Salvation Army

Busansky Elementary School Toy Drive in Pemberton, NJ

* Maryville Treatment Center

* Yellow Ribbon Fund in Bethesda, MD

KidSport Saskatoon

* Boys and Girls Club of Camden County

* Williams Family Fund

* St. Francis Inn 

* Toyota Food Drive for Philabundance

* Say It With Clay in Collingswood, NJ

* Bucks County Housing Group

* Community Food Response in Rochester, Minn.

* Montgomery County Children’s Advocacy Project

* $5,000 customized bicycle for Lucy Brooks, arranged via Help Hope Live 

For a day-by-day diary of the 2020 program and the work done by each of the selected recipients, visit https://flyersalumni.net/community/

 

EXPANSION OF DIGITAL CONTENT PLATFORMS 

Over the past year, the Flyers Alumni Association has greatly enhanced and expanded upon our digital content offerings. Some of the highlights:

Brand new website: FlyersAlumni.net 

The former official website of the Flyers Alumni Association, FlyersAlumni.org, was created on an outdated (and now virtually obsolete) website platform. In the fall and winter of 2021, we launched an all-net Flyers Alumni website at the FlyersAlumni.net domain name. The site, designed by Bill Booth of Booth Bay, is significantly more user-friendly and visually appealing than the former site.  The site will continue to evolve as new Alumni events are being launched in 2021 but the primary elements are now fully functional.  Our slogan for the new website: “Hit the Net.”

FlyersAlumni.net partnership with Flyershistory,com 

Operated independently for many years by diehard Flyers fan Pete Anson, the Flyershistory.com website, is the foremost source on the Web to research any game, player, season, single-season or career franchise statistical record from the time of the Flyers’ foundation up to the current season. 

In December 2020, the Flyers Alumni Association forged a partnership with Flyershistory.com.  The sponsorship of FlyersAlumni.net of the Flyershistory.com domain has enabled the latter to remain an active website. Pete maintains the responsibility for day-to-day administration. 

Expansion of Flyers Alumni YouTube channel 

The Flyers Alumni’s YouTube channel was created in 2017 but was seldom utilized until this past year. The page now features a library of 44 videos, with a significant amount of original content including the three Flyers Decades panel shows. The page also features an array of classic Flyers history-related videos in its library.

The ongoing purpose of the Flyers Alumni YouTube channel, apart from being a tool to promote upcoming events, is to be a tool to connect with Flyers fans. Last fall, we asked Flyers fans to submit their favorite Flyers-related photos. They could send anything that held personal meaning: family members at a game or wearing Flyers apparel, a photo the sender took with/of Flyers Alumni or current team members, a Flyers-themed “man cave”, etc. 

We anticipated that we’d get dozens of responses. As it turned out we got nearly 1,000 submissions! As a result, we have three separate video montages created as a thank you from the Alumni to Flyers fans. The videos will be housed both on the Youtube channel and on the FlyersAlumni.net website.

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Flyers Alumni Facebook 

The Flyers Alumni have built the most active and popular official Facebook page of any NHL team’s Alumni page: https://www.facebook.com/FlyersAlumni. It features widespread participation by Flyers Alumni players and their immediate and extended family members as well as a community of Flyers fans from all over the world. 

The page follower count on the Flyers Alumni Facebook page has grown to north of 14,000 overall, whereas it was less than 1,000 when the project to expand our Facebook presence began in October 2016.  Additionally, in 2020, the page attained blue checkmark (verified official page) status on Facebook.

Flyers Alumni Twitter 

The period from Feb. 11, 2020 through March 11, 2021 saw the follower count on the Flyers Alumni’s Twitter page (https://twitter.com/FlyersAlumni) increase by 10 percent (925 additional followers) to 9,212. This was the third-largest one-year jump from the time the page was first set up in 2013. The largest growth periods over the past year coincided with promoting the Decades Show and for the archival “Totally 80s” photo content created around the 80s Night the Flyers held at the Wells Fargo Center.

 

FLYERS ALUMNI IN THE NEWS 

Tocchet Inducted into Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame 

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Congratulations go out to two-stint Flyers Alum and current Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet for his induction into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2020. The ceremony took place remotely on Nov. 5, 2020. 

Other inductees in the Class of 2020 include the late Kobe Bryant, boxer Tim Witherspoon, longtime Eagles offensive lineman Jerry Sisemore, tennis player Lisa Raymond, boxing promoter Russ Peltz, the late 1910s-20s era Phillies outfield star Cy Williams, and the late longtime Phillies executive David Montgomery.

One of the toughest power forwards of his era, hard work and determination enabled Tocchet to become a perennial overachiever in the National Hockey League in an 1,144-game career that included separate stints with the Flyers at the beginning (1984-85 to 1991-92) and end (1999-2000 to 2001-2002) of his playing career. The Scarborough, Ontario native was originally a sixth-round pick (121st overall) in the 1983 NHL Draft.

Previous Flyers inductees into the Philadelphia Hall include Bobby Clarke (2004 inaugural class), Bernie Parent (2004), Ed Snider (2005), Gene Hart (2006), Bill Barber (2007), Fred Shero (2008), the entire 1973-74 and 1974-75 Stanley Cup winning Flyers teams (2009), Ron Hextall (2010), Mark Howe (2011), Eric Lindros (2012), John LeClair (2013), Brian Propp (2014), Rick MacLeish (2015), Lou Nolan (2015), Jim Watson (2016), Tim Kerr (2017), Reggie Leach (2018) and Eric Desjardins (2019). To date, there have been two non-Flyers inductees with local ties who have also been selected for enshrinement: the late Hobey Baker (2010) and Mike Richter (2014).

Tocchet’s intense competitiveness and work ethic was what turned him from a third-line caliber forward best known for his fighting prowess into one the NHL’s top power forwards of the late 1980s to mid 1990s. He hustled up a pair of 40-goal seasons and four seasons with 30-plus goals and was a member of two Flyers teams (1984-1985 and 1986-87) that reached the Stanley Cup Finals.

For his two-stint Flyers career, Tocchet scored 232 goals and 508 points in 621 regular season games. He is the franchise’s all-time time leader in penalty minutes (1,817). In 95 career playoff games, he produced 27 goals, 33 assists, 60 points and 349 penalty minutes. He is the all-time franchise leader in Gordie Howe Hat Tricks (nine).

From an offensive standpoint, Tocchet’s best Flyers career seasons came in 1988-89 (45 goals, 81 points in 66 games played), 1989-90 (37 goals, 96 points in 75 games) and 1990-91 (40 goals, 71 points in 70 goals).

During the mid-to-late 1980s, Tocchet was one of the team’s resident heartthrobs along with Peter ZezelTocchet was named Flyers captain on Oct. 2, 1991 and served until he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 19, 1992 in a blockbuster trade that brought Mark Recchi to the Flyers.

Tocchet returned to the Flyers on March 8, 2000 in one-for-one trade with the Phoenix Coyotes that brought former Legion of Doom right wing Mikael Renberg’s second Flyers stint to an end. Tocchet finished his playing career with the Flyers, retiring after an injury-plagued 2001-02 season in which he was limited to 14 games.  

Timonen and Streit Inducted into IIHF Hall of Fame  

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Flyers Alumni defensemen Kimmo Timonen (Finland) and Mark Streit (Switzerland) were inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Hall of Fame as part of its Class of 2020. The other inductees in the player category: Alexei Yashin (Russia), Ryan Smyth (Canada), and Mathias Seger (Switzerland).

The IIHF Hall of Fame is housed within the Hockey of Fame in Toronto.

A five-time winner of the Barry Ashbee Trophy, a two-time NHL All-Star as a Flyer (four times overall in the NHL) and a participant in two Olympic tournaments during his years as a Flyer, Kimmo Timonen was born in Kuopio, Finland on March 18, 1975.

As a member of Team Finland. Timonen had a 124-game international junior and men’s hockey career.  In 2018, Timonen’s No. 44 jersey was ceremonially retired by the Finnish national team: one eight players and two defensemen to receive that honor to date.

The undersized Finn always played with the heart of a lion and a pain tolerance level that was remarkable even by hockey standards. Timonen achieved success with his mental fortitude as much as his physical abilities.

Acquired on June 18, 2007 from Nashville and immediately signed to a six-year contract along with close friend Scott Hartnell in exchange for returning the Predators’ 2007 first-round pick acquired in the Peter Forsberg trade a few months earlier, Timonen immediately stepped in and became one of the best all-around defensemen in franchise history. 

Although short (listed at 5-foot-10) and lacking blazing speed, Timonen’s powerful lower body, puck skills, ability to make smart plays away from the puck, heart, desire and two-way hockey sense more than made up for anything he lacked.

Over the course of the next seven seasons, Timonen posted 232 points in 519 regular season games, a cumulative plus-44 rating at even strength and dressed in 76 to 82 games annually while logging a lot of tough ice time and playing through an array of accumulated injuries. In 71 games of playoff action, Timonen chipped in 29 points and was plus-eight. Timonen won the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the Flyers top defenseman of 2007-08, 2008-09, 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14. He also participated in the 2007-08 and 2011-12 NHL All-Star Game as well as the 2010 and 2014 Olympics while a member of the Flyers.

Contemplating retirement after the 2013-14 season, Timonen elected instead to return for one final season and took a paycut from the Flyers in order to make things work out on the salary cap. Unfortunately, in August 2014, Timonen was diagnosed with blood clots in his lung and right calf. He missed all of training camp and the first five months of the 2014-15 season.

Timonen battled the odds and, after meeting with a battery of doctors, announced his intention to play again. In order to alleviate roster overcrowding and give Timonen a chance to chase the Stanley Cup one final time with a top contender, the Flyers traded their longtime blueline leader to the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 27, 2015. He fulfilled his goal and lifted the Cup at the end of his final game before retirement. 

Kimmo Timonen’s younger brother, Jussi, briefly played for the Flyers during the 2006-07 season but primarily played in the AHL during his stint in the organization. Jussi Timonen was still a member of the organization when the Flyers first acquired Kimmo from Nashville but was traded to Dallas during the 2007-08 season.

Timonen and fellow 2020 IIHF Hall of Fame inductee Mark Streit were teammates on the Flyers in 2013-14 and 2014-15. In his own right, Streit is an iconic player in Swiss hockey.

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 Mark Streit was born in Englisberg, Switzerland on Dec. 11, 1977. Despite getting a late start in playing in North America and being unselected in the NHL Draft, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound player went on to a substantial career as an impact offensive player in the National Hockey League.

A prolific figure in international hockey for Team Switzerland and a former captain for the New York Islanders, Streit joined the Flyers via trade from the New York Islanders on June 12, 2013. Sixteen days later, the veteran signed a four-year contract with the Flyers.

In his first campaign as a Flyer, Streit notched 10 goals and 44 points while dressing in all 82 regular season games. He followed it with a strong playoff series in a seven-game loss to the New York Rangers.

In 2014-15, Streit was named an alternate captain. He led all NHL defensemen in power play points and was 10th in total points among defensemen as he posted nine goals and 52 points while missing only one game. In his third Flyers season, a detached pubic plate severely hampered Streit early in the season and required surgery to repair. He played 62 games and posted 23 points despite relinquishing top power play unit duties to rookie Shayne Gostisbehere. 

The Flyers traded Streit, an impending unrestricted free agent, to the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 1, 2017. In return, the Flyers received veteran forward Valtteri Filppula, a 2017 fourth-round draft pick and a 2017 seventh-round draft pick. The Lightning immediately flipped Streit to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

As with Timonen, Streit finished his career by winning the Stanley Cup, receiving a championship ring and his name on hockey’s most prized trophy.

Happy Retirement, Joe Watson! 

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At age 77, Flyers Hall of Famer and two-time Stanley Cup champion Joe Watson is retiring after 54 years working for the Flyers organization as a player, scout, training camp instructor and, from 1985 to 2021, on the business and marketing side. 

With the exception of the three months he spent playing for the Colorado Rockies in 1977-78 before suffering a career-ending leg injury, Joe has been part of the Flyers organization for its entire history. He was selected from the Boston Bruins in the 1967 Expansion Draft, won two Stanley Cups as a Flyer, and was selected to play in two NHL All-Star games. Both he and younger brother Jim (a five-time NHL All-Star, two-time Cup winner and fellow Flyers Hall of Fame inductee) made their permanent homes in Philadelphia.

In 1984, Joe Watson was a driving force in the foundation of the Philadelphia Flyers Alumni Association and served thereafter as the Flyers Alumni Team game and tour organizer, locker room leader and de facto captain. Even in his mid-70s, he was still suiting up and playing (wearing ancient pads and an old-school union suit under his uniform). 

Joe still plans on being active with the Flyers Alumni events. He remains invaluable to our organization.   

IN MEMORIAM  

The Flyers Alumni mourn the passing of these members of the Flyers family over the past year.

Dale Hawerchuk 

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 Hockey Hall of Fame center/winger Dale Hawerchuk passed away at age 57 on Aug. 19, 2020, following a battle with stomach cancer.

Selected by the Winnipeg Jets with the first overall pick of the 1981 NHL Draft, Hawerchuk was a prolific scorer for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Cornwalls Royals, posting 103 points as a 16-year-old and following it up with 81 goals and 183 points in 72 games.

Making the immediate jump to the National Hockey League, the 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward lived up to the hype that surrounded him. As a rookie with the Jets, he piled up 45 goals, 58 assists and 104 points.

“Ducky” went on to enjoy a stellar NHL career that saw him produce six seasons with 100 or more points, 10 seasons with at least 90 points and 13 seasons with 80-plus points.

Over the course of his career, Hawerchuk played for the Jets, Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues and Flyers. Overall, he played 1,188 regular season games (518 goals, 891 assists, 1,409 points, 740 penalty minutes) plus 97 games in the Stanley Cup playoffs (30 goals, 69 assists, 99 points, 67 penalty minutes).

Hawerchuk finished up his stellar career by spending the latter portion of the 1995-96 season and the entire 1996-97 campaign with the Flyers. He came over from the Blues in a one-for-one trade for veteran checking center Craig MacTavish on March 15, 1996.

Although chronic hip problems and advancing age no longer allowed him to consistently perform at his former level and forced him out of the lineup for significant stretches, Hawerchuk showed flashes of the form that made him one of the NHL’s most feared offensive players of the 1980s to early 1990s. Many of Hawerchuk’s best games as a Flyer came in marquee games against top opponents and/or in clutch situations.

In 67 regular games as a Flyer, Hawerchuk produced a respectable 54 points (16 goals, 38 assists) including 20 points in 16 games over the balance of the 1995-96 season after the trade from St. Louis. In 29 playoff games as a Flyer, 

Hawerchuk chipped in five goals and 16 points in a supporting role to Eric Lindros and Rod Brind’Amour that frequently saw Hawerchuk move to right wing from his longtime center spot.

Hawerchuk was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001. He began a lengthy head coaching career with the Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts in 2010. In 2019, he took a leave of absence from the Colts to undergo chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. Hawerchuk completed the treatments and was released from the hospital in April 2020. Sadly, the cancer returned and claimed his life four months later.

Jack McIlhargey 

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 A two-stint Flyers defenseman, who later served the organization as an assistant coach and then as a scout, Jack McIlhargey passed away on July 19, 2020 the age of 68 after a battle with cancer. McIlhargey, who attended the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver along with the rest of the Flyers contingent, worked for as long as possible while battling his illness.

McIlhargey, nicknamed “Bucky”, had a reputation as a very tough customer on the ice but as a witty and kind-hearted man away from the ice. There are legions of stories about McIlhargey that are sure to bring a chuckle from fellow Alumni.

Jack McIlhargey was born in Edmonton on March 7, 1952. As a player, he spent two NHL-level stints with the Flyers (1974-75 to 1976-77 and 1979-80 to 1980-81) over parts of five seasons. In total, McIlhargey dressed in 128 regular season games for the Flyers (497 penalty minutes, 10 points) and 24 playoff matches (66 penalty minutes, three assists).

On Jan 20, 1977, the Flyers traded McIlhargey and fellow defenseman Larry “Izzy” Goodenough to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for long-coveted defenseman Bob “the Count” Dailey. Philly reacquired McIlhargey from Vancouver via cash transaction on Jan. 2, 1980. His second stint ended on Nov. 21, 1980, when he and defenseman Norm Barnes were traded to the Hartford Whalers for a 1982 second-round pick (later traded to Toronto).

After his playing days ended, McIlhargey embarked on a lengthy career in coaching and scouting. With the Flyers, he served as an assistant coach under John Stevens from the 2007-08 season until both were dismissed in December 2009. McIlhargey was subsequently hired by the Flyers in 2011 as a scout; beginning a tenure that spanned the rest of his life.

Phyllis Snider-Foreman 

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The older sister of Philadelphia Flyers co-founder and longtime chairman Ed Snider, Phyllis Snider-Foreman passed away on April 11, 2020, at the age of 92. Her late husband, Earl Foreman, was also part of the Flyers’ original ownership group as its legal counsel and a small-share minority owner.

It was Phyllis who gave Philadelphia’s NHL hockey team the name “Flyers”. The ownership group considered a variety of names, but Phyllis’ suggestion — made one night when she, her husband Earl, her brother Ed and sister-in-law Myrna stopped for ice cream on the way to Philadelphia from a Broadway show — that prevailed. 

The name “Flyers” was pre-selected before the organization held a “name the team” contest, in which the winning entry from the late Alec Stockard (a nine-year-old boy from Narberth, PA) was chosen among the entries suggesting Flyers or Fliers.

Although Ed Snider eventually took over majority ownership of the team and Earl Foreman moved on to other sports ownership ventures, both he and Phyllis remained part of the extended Flyers family for the rest of their lives. Within the Snider family, Phyllis was a beloved matriarch, with a giving and loving spirit. 

Coincidentally, Phyllis passed away exactly four years to the day after her brother. Both succumbed to long battles with cancer.

Dobbie Schiff Kristoff 

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Dobbie Schiff Kristoff (nee Gordon) passed away on Dec. 2, 2020 at the age 84 from leukemia-related complications. Dobbie was the identical twin sister of the late Myrna Snider (nee Gordon), the matriarch of the Flyers’ organization and the first wife of the late Ed Snider. Dobbie’s ex-husband, Jerry Schiff, was one of the Flyers’ co-founders.

It was Dobbie who designed the “Flyerettes” uniforms. Myrna and Dobbie, who enjoyed an extremely close bond with one another, were largely the ones responsible for the “family” identity of the Flyers organization. Myrna and Dobbie made sure the wives and children of the team’s players and coaches were treated as part of the Flyers Family.

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