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Lappy & Co. take in Gettysburg

by Joe Siville / Philadelphia Flyers
Ian Laperriere stood at the top of Little Round Top and wondered what the Civil War battle must’ve looked like over 145 years ago.

“It was great to walk on the same ground that the soldiers did a long time ago,” said Laperriere. “But it was special to share that with my oldest [son]. It was just special to be there.”

Laperriere, along with his son Tristan, goaltender Johan Backlund and Flyers athletic trainer/strength & conditioning coach Jim McCrossin made the three hour trek from the Virtua Center Flyers Skatezone in Voorhees, N.J. to the town of Gettysburg, Pa. where perhaps the most famous battle of the American Civil War took place.
From left to right: Johan Backlund, Ian Laperriere and Jim McCrossin at the edge of a Gettysburg battlefield. (Click photo to open gallery)

The trio is used to battlefield conditions of a different sort. Theirs is a 200x 85-foot sheet of ice for 60 minutes (sometimes more) and for 82 games and beyond.

On this day, the group took the ride out onto a completely different and much more realistic type of battlefields called Rose Woods, Devils Den and Round Top to immerse themselves in the history that took place there.

“I’m not even American, but I know what those soldiers went through. Its kind of a ‘let’s pay your respect to those soldiers just being there’. I know a lot of people lost their life in those three days and to just be able to go there, and not pay tribute but just be there and pay your respect to them is something that even as a Canadian is something nice to do.”

One of most interesting parts of the day Laperriere admitted was not only seeing all of the history and artifacts of the period, but actually getting to walk the very ground these famous battles took place.

“You can really see where the South was and the North was. Just to see where every battle took place and having Jimmy [McCrossin] right next to us really helped to get to know where the battles were and who fought who, it was just great to see that.”

Having already been to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Alcatraz in San Francisco and of course many of the rich historical venues around Philadelphia, there may not be any other vacation plans in the near future for Laperriere, but he did tip us off on what might be his next destination in the years to come.

“Normandy has always been a dream of mine. There’s quite a bit of Canadian boys that died there too, so it would be something that’s in my future plans. It would be fun to go and pay our respect to those fallen soldiers over there.” 
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