Fan favorite power forward and alternate Flyers captain Wayne Simmonds was born August 26, 1988 in Scarborough, Ontario. A classic late bloomer whose work ethic, toughness and tenacity as well as athleticism helped him fulfill his potential, Simmonds worked his way up to become a 30-goal, 60-point player in the National Hockey League.
Simmonds played Junior A hockey for the Brockville Braves after being bypassed in the Ontario Hockey League draft, and was also bypassed in his first year of NHL Draft eligibility. Joining the OHL's Owen Sound Attack and posting 23 goals, 49 points and 112 penalty minutes in 66 games during the 2006-07 season, Simmonds started to attract NHL attention. The Los Angeles Kings selected Simmonds in the second round (61st overall) of the 2007 NHL Draft.
At his first camp with the Kings, Simmonds slept in his car and was the first player on the ice each day and often the last to leave. Rewarded with his first pro contract, Simmonds played one more season of junior hockey for Owen Sound and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 2007-08 and earned a spot on gold medalist Team Canada at the World Junior Championships.
Standing 6-foot-2 on a skinny-looking frame, Simmonds proved to be remarkably strong both physically and mentally. He earned an NHL roster spot with the Kings out of training camp in 2008-09 and dressed in all 82 regular season games (nine goals, 23 points, 73 penalty minutes).
Over the next two seasons, Simmonds became a reliable third-line player for LA, bringing energy, speed and a physical presence as well as hints of goal-scoring ability (16 and 14 goals, 40 and 30 points respectively in 2009-10 and 2010-11). On June 23, 2011, the Kings traded Simmonds, top prospect Brayden Schenn and a 2012 second-round pick to the Flyers in exchange for center Mike Richards.
Simmonds' role grew steadily after his arrival in Philadelphia, rapidly becoming a top-six forward and a regular as the net-front forward on the top power play unit.
In 2011-12, Simmonds eclipsed his previous career highs as he notched 28 goals and 49 points for the Flyers in the regular season, while totaling 114 penalty minutes. In the 2012 playoffs, he added six points (one goal, five assists). During the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Simmonds produced 15 goals, 32 points and 82 penalty minutes in 45 games.
After the season, the player signed a six-year contract extension with Philadelphia.
Simmonds hit the 60-point mark for the first time in 2013-14, and also bettered his previous career high in goals, tallying 29 times. During the Flyers' hard-found seven-game loss to the New York Rangers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Simmonds scored a hat trick in Game Six and five points (four goals, one assist) overall in the series. The next year, a late-season leg fracture cost Simmonds a shot at his first 30-goal season in the NHL but he tallied 28 goals overall (14 on the power play) in 75 matches.
The rugged forward hit the 30-goal milestone in 2015-16, producing 32 goals, while notching his second 60-point season and a career-high 147 penalty minutes. Simmonds, who won the Yanick Dupre Memorial Class Guy Award, also continued his emergence as a team leader.
On the final weekend of the regular season, shortly before the passing of Flyers co-founder and longtime chairman Ed Snider, it was Simmonds who promised a playoff spot clinching win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in honor of Mr. Snider. The Flyers' right winger then went out and scored the tying and winning goals to secure a postseason berth.