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Moments to Remember

A run down of the funniest moments, best quotes and excitement from Alumni Fantasy Camp weekend

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer / philadelphiaflyers.com

Sold out every year of its existence, the fifth annual edition of the Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp in Atlantic City was a four-day whirlwind of competitive hockey on the ice and off-ice fun for players and Alumni alike. 

The Alumni coaches this year consisted of two Hockey Hall of Famers (Mark Howe and Bill Barber), three Flyers Hall of Famers (Joe Watson, Barber and Howe), two of the most popular Flyers players of the 2000s (Danny Briere and current Flyers assistant coach Ian Laperriere), two first-time camp coaches (Martin Biron and Bill Clement) and three longtime NHL players turned broadcasters (Keith Jones, Clement and Biron).

Check out the best (and funniest moments) that took place during the festivities:

1. Careful with that ax, Lappy
For many campers, one of the highlights was an ax-throwing cage. The standout ax-thrower was Laperriere, who hit the bullseye several times. Using a two-handed throwing technique, Lappy prevailed in a multi-competitor ax-throwing contest at the end of the night. Another one of the top competitors was former Philadelphia Phantoms equipment manager and backup goaltender, Joe Rivera.

2. Through the eyes of a goalie.
During the Team CDW practice, the squad worked on a breakout drill from the left corner and up the ice. With Team Toyota's practice up next, Flyers Alumni goaltender Martin Biron stood rinkside, holding court and telling stories about being a starter vs. a backup.

"When you're a young goalie and you're backing up, you wanna get out there if the other guy gets pulled. When you're older, and it's 2-0 early in the game, you're ducking down and thinking, 'Pleaaaaaase don't put me in. I don't wanna go out there. They've popped the bottle twice and we're not playing any D," Biron quipped.

Biron turned his attention to doing a good-natured critique of the drill Laperriere was doing, as seen through the eyes of a goalie. 

"Same old Lappy, no thought about the goalies," Biron said in exaggerated dismay. "Dumps the puck in the same corner every time. That goalie [in the D-zone] gets no work, and that one [far side] is only seeing shots from one side. C'mon, Lappy! Move it around!" 

Then Biron turned his attention to Jones at the far side bench. He crinkled his nose and shook his head.

"At least Lappy is doing something. Jonesy over there is just standing around!" Biron said.

3. Gritty Meets His Beard Brother
Campers were surprised during the Saturday night pig roast with a special appearance by Gritty. Almost everyone flocked over to meet and take photos with the Flyers' mascot.  

Gritty could scarcely believe his googly eyes when he met Team River Rock Academy defenseman and Lancaster resident Brett Cole. If anyone has a more epic red beard than Gritty or Jakub Voracek, it's Cole, whose whiskers extend far below chin level.

4. Rossister's Mask
Team Tito's goaltender Jack Rossiter, a Philadelphia native, sported the most unusual mask of any goaltender in the tourney. He wore an old-school (as in circa early 1970s) style with a bluish face painted on that looked like something from an old science fiction/horror movie. The mask barely covered his face, had little inner padding, and offered no throat protection. 

Playing an unorthodox version of an old-fashioned standup style, Rossiter was also down on the ice frequently, battling for saves, doing snow angles but coming up with most of the pucks.

5. Scouting the opposition
On Sunday, the four competing teams played two games apiece. Watson and Howe took in the first game before theirs and Watson -- competitive instincts burning as strong as ever -- kept up a running scouting report and commentary on opposing lines and players. 

Before the start of the championship game began, Watson delivered a brief but heartfelt message that members of the Flyers Alumni team -- and his teammates on the Flyers from throughout the first decade of team history -- have heard him say many times.

"Boys, anyone can lose. Not everyone can win," Watson said. 

When Team River Rock presented Watson, who has coached three championship-winning teams in the camp's five-year history, with the championship winning trophy, he beamed and lifted it high over his head. 

6. Coatesy, Billy and Marty Keep 'em laughing
On the evening before the championship and consolation games, a Farewell Dinner celebration was held in the Tropicana Ballroom for players, Alumni and for presenting sponsor David and Fill Financial, Inc., team sponsors Toyota, CDW, Tito's, and River Rock Academy, event hosts and Alumni partner Tropicana Hotel and Casino, footwear sponsor New Balance and food sponsor Pappy's.

During the Farewell Dinner, there was a special Q&A session with Steve Coates, Bill Barber and Martin Biron. Moderated by Lou Nolan, the panel shared hilarious, and sometimes unprintable, stories from their broadcasting and playing days. 

Nolan then shared one of his own stories. He recounted a time that Charles Barkley was his guest down at the scorer's table, and an injured Rick Tocchet called down from the pressbox to talk to the NBA superstar. 

As the two athletes chatted, the Flyers scored a goal. Nolan snatched the phone away from Barkley to get the time and scoring on the play to announce on the PA. He then hung up the phone.

After the game, Nolan saw Tocchet and Barkley in the hallway. 

"Hey, Tocch!" Barkley said. "There's the guy that hung up on you!"

7. Players from Far and Wide
Camp participants spanned an array of ages and distances traveled to attend. Apart from the local campers, there were attendees from Saskatchewan, Alberta, Quebec and Newfoundland in Canada and from U.S. locales ranging from New York, Illinois, Virginia, Texas and California.

There was also a returning female player: Philadelphia area native and New York resident Heather Meister; a goaltender for Team CDW.

8. The Cappy Cup
For the third straight year, Team River River Rock Academy took home the Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp Cup. The team, coached by Howe and Watson, defeated Team Toyota (Briere and Biron) by a 5-3 count in the championship game. 

The first player to lift the championship trophy was River Rock's Steve "Cappy" Capoferri, the de facto team captain and an annual attendee at camp. Capoferri then passed it around to his teammates on the ice, in the fashion of the Stanley Cup ceremony. In the consolation game, Team CDW (Jones and Laperriere) prevailed in overtime, 8-7, against Team Tito's (Barber, Clement and Marsh). 

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