Every summer, golf is the name of the game for hockey players, especially those retired from the professional ranks.
And while that is a great day for a great cause every year, the Alumni went even bigger for 2015. So the Flyers legends gathered together and kicked off their first-ever Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp in Atlantic City on Friday night.
The camp features eight Flyers legends who will instruct, coach and perhaps most importantly, interact off-the-ice with fans who signed up for a weekend of memories and hockey.
|LEFT TO RIGHT: Bernie Parent, Joe Watson, Bob Kelly, Ian Laperriere, Dave Schultz, Lou Nolan, Todd Fedoruk, Brian Propp and Andre Dupont. |
“We’re on the ice with people who love the game. They love the Alumni and they love the game,” said Hall of Fame goaltender Bernie Parent. “They’re all excited to get on the ice and to mingle with the former players and have an association with us. They want to get to know how we practice and do the things that we used to do on the ice.”
Parent is joined by Andre “Moose” Dupont, Todd “Fridge” Fedoruk, Bob “The Hound” Kelly, Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, Joe Watson, Brian Propp as well as current Flyers assistant coach Ian Laperriere, who despite the generation gap, is having just as much fun as some of the fans in attendance.
“You know what, that generation is way before me, but I love it and I have so much respect for all of those guys,” said Laperriere. “They won two Cups and I love just being around them for the stories that they tell.”
Speaking of the fans. Don’t think that they are just locals who drove an hour or less to be a part of this special event. They came from all over the country… and even north of the border.
“It’s rewarding and you feel grateful that there are people that want to be here with us and really socialize,” added Parent, who is teaching a separate goalie clinic during one of the practice sessions. “On the ice we have fun skating and doing a few drills, but the fact that we’re able to socialize with them as individuals is great. They all know us individually, but we don’t know them, and with something like this we all get to know each other. There’s a bond that builds and I cherish that.”
Each Camp participant is split up into teams and will be instructed by alumni coaches at the Flyers Skate Zone Atlantic City. A welcome party on Friday night and a practice session on Saturday afternoon will pave the way for a round-robin style tournament and a skills competition.
“To come from Edmonton, you have to be a real die-hard Flyers fan,” said Kelly. “We never really had many fans from visiting teams, but Flyers fans are just the absolute best. These guys can relate to our game. Some of them were only 8, 9, 10-years-old when we played, but we made a mark in the National Hockey League and these people are here to support that.”
No matter who emerges as the champion of the weekend, it’s pretty clear that everyone wins in this first-year event. Proceeds will benefit Flyers Charities and the Flyers Alumni Association.