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Wayne Simmonds named a finalist for the NHL Foundation Player Award

Flyers forward headed to Las Vegas for NHL Awards Show

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The National Hockey League announced today that Philadelphia Flyers forward, Wayne Simmonds, is a finalist for the 2016-17 NHL Foundation Player Award, which is presented to "an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey - commitment, perseverance and teamwork - to enrich the lives of people in his community."

Simmonds is one of two finalists along with New York Islanders defenseman, Travis Hamonic. 

The winner of the NHL Foundation Player Award will be announced Tuesday, June 20, at the 2017 NHL Humanitarian Awards, a special event at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas that will honor the League's leaders both on and off the ice. The winner will also be recognized the following day at the 2017 NHL Awards at T Mobile Arena.

Simmonds has hosted Wayne's Road Hockey Warriors each summer since 2012. Aimed at providing opportunities for youth in his hometown of Scarborough, Ont., to learn and play hockey, he has raised more than $100,000 through this annual event that features several other NHL players. The 28-year-old also has purchased private suites at Flyers games for military personnel, hosted a Make-A-Wish experience and actively supported the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation (ESYHF). Inspired by his similar background, Simmonds joined the ESYHF board in 2014, often spending time on his off days with children from the program.

Having recently completed his sixth season with the Flyers, Simmonds led the team in goals (31) and finished fourth in the entire NHL with 16 power-play goals. He was named to, and participated in, his first NHL All-Star Game where he won MVP honors. Simmonds also took home two Flyers end of season awards - being the recipient of the Bobby Clarke Trophy as Team MVP, as well as winner of the Toyota Cup for most points as a "Star of the Game".

Alongside Simmonds for the award, Hamonic has used his personal experiences to positively impact the community. Through his D-Partner Program, Hamonic has bonded with and directly touched the lives of more than 200 children who, at a young age, have suffered the loss of a parent. He has spent more than $50,000 hosting D-Partner Program participants at Islanders games, providing VIP treatment as well as special meet-and-greets. Hamonic also has served as an event ambassador for the Children's Wish Foundation and spearheaded various Islanders community events, including the team's school and hospital visits.

NHL clubs submitted nominations for the NHL Foundation Player Award, with the finalists selected by a judging panel. The NHL Foundation will present $25,000 to the chosen charitable organization of this year's recipient.

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BEST OF… A look at the best plays and moments of 2016-17

Goals, assists, hits and special events that highlighted the 50th Anniversary Season

by Jay Greenberg @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Play -- Brayden Schenn dropped the puck to Ivan Provorov, took a return pass, pulled to his backhand, and scored around goaltender Jimmy Howard, giving the Flyers a 1-0 overtime victory on December 11 in Detroit.

Video: PHI@DET: Schenn uses great deke to finish for OT win

Wins - The above victory, the Flyers' ninth straight, was on their last visit ever to Joe Louis Arena, a place where they won only three games from 1988 until it closed at the end of the season. Steve Mason's 2-0 shutout of the Rangers on January 25 on third-period goals by Jake Voracek and Wayne Simmonds was only the fourth Flyers triumph in their last 21 visits (including playoffs) to Madison Square Garden.

Moment - Valtteri Filppula scored with 9:22 remaining in his first Flyer game to tie Florida in a March 2 contest Philadelphia won, 2-1, on shootout goal by Voracek.

Video: FLA@PHI: Filppula tips home goal in debut with Flyers

Power Move - Michael Raffl drove to the net, leaned off defenseman Mattis Ekholm, and had enough room to go around goalie Juuse Saros and provide the winning goal in a 4-2 December 4 victory in Nashville.

Shots - By Jake Voracek from the top of the circle to beat the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist in a 5-2 loss on January 4 at Wells Fargo Center… You don't see many goals anymore from that far out cleanly beat unscreened goaltenders, particularly one of the best. Travis Konecny circled off the left boards to just below the right faceoff dot and buried the puck under the crossbar on Sergei Bobrovsky's short side to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead in a 5-3 home loss to Columbus on March 25. Ivan Provorov did much the same on Cam Ward to open the scoring in a 4-3 overtime win against Carolina on March 19.

Steals - By Wayne Simmonds from Brent Burns, the Norris Trophy favorite, in overtime for a breakaway winner against the Sharks, 2-1, on February 11. Jake Voracek took the puck from All Star John Tavares just inside the blueline to feed Shayne Gostisbehere, who circled the net and fed Claude Giroux's overtime winner, 3-2, on January 22 at Brooklyn.

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POSTGAME: Phantoms drop heartbreaker in Game 2

Hershey tallies three times in third period to take, 2-0 series lead

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

A heated start to the Game 2 saw the Phantoms get out to a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes of play, but the Hershey Bears fought back and scored three unanswered, including the game-winning tally with 33 seconds left in regulation to earn a 5-4 win in Lehigh Valley on Saturday night.

Greg Carey scored twice and added an assist, while Chris Conner recorded three helpers in the loss.

Starting goaltender, Alex Lyon, left the game due to injury at the midway point of the third period after stopping 10 of 13 shots. Back up, Martin Ouellette, came in relief making two saves the rest of the way.

Below are some news & notes from the game:

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POSTGAME: Phantoms drop Game 1 in OT

Bears tally only goal in 1-0 overtime win in Lehigh Valley

by Lehigh Valley Phantoms / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Calder Cup Playoff hockey hit the Lehigh Valley and PPL Center for the first time ever Friday evening as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms opened their best-of-five division semifinals series against the rival Hershey Bears. 

Friday's contest featured everything that exemplifies the excitement of postseason hockey - tremendous intensity, raucous fans, bone-crushing checks and stellar goaltending. In fact, the netminding was so impressive on both sides, the series opener featured just one goal as visiting Hershey was able to escape downtown Allentown with a 1-0 overtime victory.
    
The Bears now lead the best-of-five series 1-0 with an opportunity for the Phantoms to level the rivalry series on Saturday with Game 2 at PPL Center.Video: Phantoms goaltender Alex Lyon discusses 1-0 OT loss

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Flyers agree to terms with forward Connor Bunnaman

Fourth round pick in 2016 to ink entry-level contract with Flyers

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they have agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with forward Connor Bunnaman, the club's fourth round pick (109th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, according to general manager Ron Hextall.

Bunnaman, 19 (04/16/98), recently completed his third season in the Ontario Hockey League with the Kitchener Rangers where he led the club with 37 goals and 16 power-play goals, while finishing third on the team with 52 points in 64 games.

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Pole Position: A look at the Phantoms-Bears lineups

The stage is set for a high-powered, best of five division series

by Bill Meltzer @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The Phantoms vs. Bears playoff series represents a clash between the AHL's highest-scoring (Lehigh Valley) and second highest-scoring (Hershey) clubs. The Phantoms racked up 260 goals during the 76-game regular season, while Hershey lit the lamp 219 times. 

 

PHANTOMS OFFENSIVE FIREPOWER

Even without AHL All-Star Game selection Jordan Weal (15 goals, 47 points in 42 games for the Phantoms prior to dressing in 23 NHL games for the Flyers), the Phantoms have a deep and potent attack. Five different players scored 20 or more goals, four players produced at least 50 points, seven players (excluding Weal) had at least 40 points and 11 players (again excluding Weal) scored double-digit goals.

Leading the way offensively for the Phantoms was high-scoring veteran offensive defenseman T.J. Brennan (21 goals including 12 power play tallies, 60 points). He was tied for the AHL scoring lead among all defensemen. Veteran forwards such as Andy Miele (7th in the AHL with 44 assists among his 57 points), Chris Conner (22 goals, 56 points), team captain Colin McDonald (25 goals) and Greg Carey (28 goals, 51 points) brought a new dimension to the Lehigh Valley attack. Pint-sized speed demon Danick Martel recorded his second straight 20-goal season.

Rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim, the Flyers' first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, spent much of the first half of the season working on his play without the puck but the speedy and offensively gifted blueliner saw the points start to come with regularity in December. After going goalless with 10 assists through the first 23 games of the season, Sanheim finished with 10 goals - nine at even strength - and 14 assists for 24 points over the remainder of the season.

Up front, the Phantoms also boasted a solid cadre of two-way forwards. Third-year pros Taylor Leier (13 goals, 37 points, +10 in 48 games) and Scott Laughton (19 goals including four shorthanded tallies, 39 points, +17 in 60 games) brought both speed and strong abilities both with and without the puck. Corban Knight (11 goals, 40 points, +8) also contributed in a variety of different ways. Cole Bardreau (nine goals, 24 points, 85 penalty minutes) added grit and tenacity.

Rookie players such as Nicolas Aube-Kubel (nine goals, nine assists in 71 games) and Radel Fazleev (six goals, 10 assists in 65 games) were expected to work on their all-around abilities this season and to earn their ice time. Both 20-year-old forwards produced a few highlights over the course of the season but are still works in progress in terms of showing consistently successful adaptation from the junior level to the pros.

While few opponents found much success when they tried to out-skate and out-chance Gordon's team, the Bears had their own array of players who found the net with regularity during the season.

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Rivalry Renewed: Phantoms-Bears add another chapter as playoffs begin

A detailed look into the rivalry, series matchup and what to expect starting Friday

by Bill Meltzer @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Ever since the creation of the Phantoms in 1996 to become the Philadelphia Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Flyers' previous AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, have been the Phantoms' biggest rival. That rivalry will be renewed when the teams meet in the Calder Cup playoffs, starting on Friday, April 21 at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA in the first game of a best-in-five series.

This year marks the fifth time the Phantoms and Bears have met in the playoffs. Hershey prevailed in 1997, 2000 and 2009, while the Philadelphia Phantoms beat the Bears in 1998 en route to their first Calder Cup championship.

For Lehigh Valley, now in their third season in Allentown after five campaigns in Glens Falls, NY as the Adirondack Phantoms, the upcoming series marks their first trip to the Calder Cup playoffs in eight years; dating back to the 2009 first-round loss to the eventual Calder Cup champion Bears in the final season at the Spectrum. The Washington Capitals-affiliated Hershey team lost in the Calder Cup Finals in 2016 to the Lake Erie Monsters.

 

AS TOUGH AS THEY COME

The Atlantic Division was by far the deepest and toughest in the American Hockey League during the 2016-17 season. Boasting the AHL's second-best regular season record (48-23-5, 101 points), the Phantoms finished six points behind the Wilkes Barre/ Scranton Penguins and four points ahead of Hershey (43-22-11, 97 points) in the Atlantic. 

During the regular season, the Phantoms and Bears played each other 12 times. The Phantoms went 7-4-1 against the Bears. 

The Phantoms went 3-3-0 in the six games in Allentown and 4-1-1 in the games in Hershey. Overall, the Bears' 54 points on home ice ranked third in the AHL while the Phantoms' 51 road points represented the AHL's second-best road record.

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Four Flyers named to Team Canada for World Championships

Couturier, Giroux, Konecny & Simmonds to represent the Flyers and their country

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Hockey Canada announced today that four Flyers forwards Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny and Wayne Simmonds have been named to the roster for Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Championships.

This year's tournament will take place from May 5-21 and is set in Paris, France, and Cologne, Germany.

This will be Giroux's third time representing Canada at the IIHF World Championships. He helped his country win gold in 2015 in the Czech Republic where he averaged a point per game with 10 points (3g-7a) in 10 contests, which included a goal and an assist in the gold medal game as Canada defeated Russia, 6-1.

Giroux also represented Canada at the 2013 tournament, when he also averaged a point per-game pace with three goals and five assists for eight points in eight games.  

Earning a gold medal alongside Giroux at the 2015 World Championships was Sean Couturier, who will be playing in his second Worlds with Canada. Couturier posted a +13 rating in the tournament while adding three goals and four assists for seven points and appeared in all 10 games.

Wayne Simmonds will also be entering his second World Championships for Team Canada. He last appeared in 2013 where he was teammates with Claude Giroux. Simmonds appeared in all eight games, recording one goal.

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Flyers Announce First Annual Flyers Charity Classic

New major summer event to include 5K walk/run; 10 mile, 50K and 100K bike rides

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

The Philadelphia Flyers announced today that the club is set to host a major summertime run, walk, and ride event this July, the Philadelphia Flyers Charity Classic. Scheduled for Sunday, July 16, 2017, the Flyers Charity Classic encompasses a 5K walk or run, a 10-mile family bike ride, as well as 50K and 100K bike rides.

The event is a joint venture of Flyers Charities and the Flyers Alumni Association together with g4 Productions, which specializes in large-scale, participatory sporting events. The event will also be supported by the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation department as well as the Philadelphia Police.

"We've proudly hosted the Flyers Charities 5K for five years now and are excited to enhance that event with a new summer date, new course, and the addition of a cycling component to welcome even more fans this year," said Flyers President Paul Holmgren. "This new event will showcase our great city as a recreational leader, as these new routes will take runners and riders through very scenic courses."

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5 THINGS: Phantoms enter the Calder Cup Playoffs

A look at news & notes to know before the Phantoms postseason starts

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

Playoff Hockey will officially return for the Phantoms for the first time in eight years when Lehigh Valley takes on the Hershey Bears in the Atlantic Division semifinals on Friday, Apr. 21 at the PPL Center in Allentown.

1. WHEN, WHERE & WHO

The #2 seeded Phantoms take on the #3 seeded Bears in a Best of Five first round series… The Phantoms played the Hershey Bears 12 times during the regular season and won the season series with a 7-4-1-0 record.

Game 1 - Fri., Apr. 21 - Hershey at Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.
Game 2 - Sat., Apr. 22 - Hershey at Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3 - Wed., Apr. 26 - Lehigh Valley at Hershey, 7:00 p.m.
*Game 4 - Sat., Apr. 29 - Lehigh Valley at Hershey, 7:00 p.m.
*Game 5 - Sun., Apr. 30 - Hershey at Lehigh Valley, 5:05 p.m.
* if necessary

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