Flyers Alumni Defeat Bruins Alumni, 6-2

A crowd of more than 15,000 devoted Philadelphia Flyers turned out at the Wells Fargo Center on January 26, 2024, to see the Flyers Alumni Team take on the Boston Bruins Alumni in a fundraising game on behalf of Flyers Charities and the Flyers Alumni Association. A pregame VIP reception, featuring 50+ Flyers Alumni for every generation of team history along with several Bruins Alumni who also played for the Flyers during their NHL careers, was a complete sellout. A post-event auction of autographed game-worn jerseys and other memorabilia from the Alumni Game raised an additional $33,850 for Flyers Charities.

The Alumni Game. won 6-2 by the Flyers Alumni, was just one facet of Flyers Hall of Fame weekend. Mark Recchi was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame the following afternoon before the current Flyers played the current Bruins (a 6-2 win for Boston). Additionally, the weekend featured a reunion of most of the surviving Alumni from the 1973-1974 and 1974-75 Flyers teams that won the Stanley Cup championship in back-to-back years. The Stanley Cup trophy itself was in the house for photo opportunities during the VIP reception, a special center ice ceremony with the Cup-winning Alumni, and on public display in the Wells Fargo Center concourse during the Alumni Game.

Last but not least, 80-year-old Flyers Hall of Fame defenseman Joe Watson played in his final Alumni Game as well as being part of the Cup team reunion and among the group of Flyers Hall of Famers who helped welcome Recchi to their ranks during the induction ceremony the next day. After the Stanley Cup pregame ceremony on Friday, the elder Watson brother went to the Flyers dressing room and donned the uniform for the final time. He came out to the ice to a special introduction from PA announcer Lou Nolan and a standing ovation from the fans, about five minutes into the first period.

By Joe’s estimation, he played in roughly 2,500 hockey games between minor hockey in his native Smithers, British Columbia, junior hockey for the Estevan (Saskatchewan) Bruins, the professional minor leagues for the Minneapolis Bruins and Oklahoma City Blazers, 835 regular season games and 84 Stanley Cup playoff games in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins, Flyers (10 years), and Colorado Rockies, and 40 years of games with the Flyers Alumni Team (he co-founded the Flyers Alumni Association in 1984). He never wore a helmet as a player; that is, until his final Alumni Game.

The Flyers Alumni dressed the following line starting lineup combinations:

10 John LeClair – 88 Eric Lindros – 8 Mark Recchi
19 Scott Hartnell – 18 Mike Richards – 22 Mike Knuble
26 Brian Propp – 9 Patrick Sharp – 87 Donald Brashear
29 Todd Fedoruk – 32 Riley Cote – 21 Dave Brown

2 Mark Howe – 44 Kimmo Timonen
6 Chris Therien – 36 Dennis Seidenberg
8 Brad Marsh – 29 Daryl Stanley
14 Joe Watson

33 Brian Boucher (first 30 minutes, 12 saves on 13 shots)
49 Michael Leighton (latter 30 minutes, 11 saves on 12 shots)

Head coach: Craig Berube
Associate coach: Robert Esche
Honorary coaches (first period): Danny Briere, Keith Jones, Dan Hilferty

FIRST PERIOD

12:13: Mark Recchi 1st (Mike Richards, John LeClair) — Flyers Alumni 1 – Bruins Alumni 0

After a partial line change, Richards found “Recchs” in the right circle. The Hockey Hall of Famer sniped a wrist shot upstairs for a 1-0 lead for the Flyers Alumni Team.

17:32 Graeme Townshend 1st (Mark Mowers) — Bruins Alumni 1 – Flyers Alumni 1

The rebound of a Mowers shot from the right slot crawled up Boucher’s arm, pinballed off Townshend’s shoulder and into the net to send the game the first intermission deadlocked on the scoreboard.

SECOND PERIOD

17:41 Mike Richards 1st SHG (Patrick Sharp) — Flyers Alumni 2 – Bruins Alumni 1

The Flyers Alumni broke out in a transition on a 2-on-1 shorthanded counterattack. Puck carrier sharp made a cross-ice pass to Richards, who finished it off upstairs to the stick side from the left slot to restore lead for the Flyers Alumni. Shorthanded goals from Richards, of course, were a familiar sight for Flyers fans during his NHL days in Philadelphia: 23 career regular season shorthanded goals as a Flyers plus three playoff shorthanded goals (not the least of which was his iconic Game 6 shorthanded tally against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference championship clinching win in the 2010 Eastern Conference Final).

THIRD PERIOD

2:36 Mark Recchi 2nd (John LeClair) — Flyer Alumni 3 – Bruins Alumni 1

Flyers and U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame left winger LeClair sprang Recchi — for whom LeClair was traded from Montreal to the Flyers in 1995 and later became Philadelphia teammates when the Flyers reacquired Recchi from Montreal in 1999 — on a breakaway. One-on-one with the goalie, Recchi patiently moved to his left, and scored with a wrister inside the near post.

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5:45 Donald Brashear 1st (Mark Howe) — Flyers Alumni 4 – Bruins Alumni 1

A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and the Flyers Hall Fame, Howe is the undisputed top offensive and all-around defenseman in Flyers history. Here, at age 68, Howe showed off his legendary hands with a gorgeous 2-on-1 set up pass out of the reach of fellow Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque. Open near the right post, Brashear re-directed the puck the net for a commanding three-goal lead. “Brash”, best known for his toughness but a 38-goal scorer in the American Hockey League and still an active player at age 52 in Quebec’s semi-pro LNAH, flirted will a goal several times earlier in the 2024 Alumni Game. This time, he struck paydirt off the Howe feed.

7:52 Bryan Smolinski 1st (Terry Virtue, Peter Douris) — Bruins Alumni 2 – Flyers Alumni 4

“Smoke”, who had a 31-goal season for the Bruins and tallied 20-plus goals five times overall in the NHL, has always been a dangerous shooter when open in scoring range. The passage of time hasn’t changed that. Here, the 52-year-old veteran of 1,026 NHL regular season games and 123 Stanley Cup playoff matches, beat Leighton to cut the Bruins Alumni deficit to two goals.

14:19 Eric Lindros 1st (John LeClair, Mark Recchi) — Flyers Alumni 5 – Bruins Alumni 2

The all-time leader in points-per-game and a member of both the Hockey Hall of Fame and Flyers Hall of Fame, Lindros was kept off the scoresheet in 2024 Alumni Game until the final six minutes of the third period. Here, Recchi sent a lead pass to LeClair to start a 2-on-2 rush. With a step on a defender, Lindros went to his backhand to re-direct LeClair’ cross-seam pass into the net.

18:14 Patrick Sharp 1st (unassisted) — Flyers Alumni 6 – Bruins Alumni 2

Making his Flyers Alumni Team debut, Sharp poked the puck past Bourque and counterattacked up the right side. From the right circle, “Sharpie” wristed home a shot through the five-hole to close out the scoring.

WRAPUP
On the weekend of his Flyers Hall of Fame induction, Recchi led all players in the Alumni Game with a three-point evening. The final list of players who registered at least one point in the game.

Flyers Alumni
Mark Recchi (2G, 1A)
Mike Richards (1 SHG, 1A)
Patrick Sharp (1G, 1A)
John LeClair (2A)
Eric Lindros (1G)
Donald Brashear (1G)
Mark Howe (1A)

Bruins Alumni
Bryan Smolinski (1G)
Graeme Townshend (1G)
Mark Mowers (1A)
Terry Virtue (1A)
Peter Douris (1A)

Official Three-Star Selection
1. Mark Recchi
2. Joe Watson
3. John LeClair

Re-watch the Stanley Cup ceremony and the 2024 Flyers Alumni Game in their entirety below:

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