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by Joe Siville / Philadelphia Flyers
Typically team bonding exercises or trips take place a month or two into the season and usually during a road trip, which involves some sort of team building experience.

Now I’m sure in the near future or perhaps when the team heads out on the west coast during the holiday season, the Flyers will no doubt take part in exercises such as that, but just recently, Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette wanted to get his team together before they begin this long journey that is the 2010-11 season.

The team, along with Hockey Operations staff members and their loved ones took part in a special dinner at Raw, a sushi restaurant located in downtown Philadelphia.
Flyers take part in a sushi dinner prior to the opening of the 2010-11 season. (click on image for a photo gallery)

“It’s good to see all the new players, the wives and getting to meet them, make them feel comfortable and get everyone together again,” said Flyers captain Mike Richards. “It was a good chance to get away from hockey, it seems like that’s all we’ve been doing the last week or two. You can learn different things about them other than what they do on the ice.”
In addition to dining, a special video segment was shown to all players to emphasize the value of friendship, being teammates and working together for one common goal.

“You know to have all the guys there, it was the end of training camp and the start of the season and to get everybody together it was a great thing,” said goaltender Brian Boucher. “To have that video as a little motivation to get going and kick off the season is a great thing. I think guys are excited for the season and ready to build off of last year.”

One of the other added benefits of nights such as these is that with all of the new faces and rookies coming in, it’s certainly a night to increase your comfort level with teammates who have been with the team for a while.

 “It’s great because you get to meet and talk to guys away from the rink and get to hang out with them and see what they’re like outside,” said sophomore forward James van Riemsdyk. “When you get to know guys like that a little better, it’s that much easier to play for a guy that’s sitting next to you and do that extra stuff for them.”

16-year veteran Sean O’Donnell has been a part of many bonding experiences throughout his career, but sees this one in a little bit of a different light.

“This reminds everyone that we’re all in this together,” said O’Donnell. “You’re a team and it just kind of reminds everybody of our common goal. We have a chance to do something real special here. Not a lot of teams can really say that, that we really legitimately have a chance to do something special.  [It helps] you start the season moving in the right direction.”

That direction, the Flyers hope, takes them once again through the Eastern Conference and a second straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final in June.
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