Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol was back on the ice running drills, providing instruction and watching over the players for the first time since being hired last May.
Although these weren’t his players - that group will kick off Training Camp in mid-September at the Skatezone in Voorhees, NJ.
It was a visit to the Scanlon Ice Rink on Thursday morning to conduct an on-ice clinic for student-athletes from Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation and marked his first official community appearance in Philadelphia since taking over behind the bench for the Flyers.
“It’s a huge part of why I’m here and why we’re all here,” said Hakstol. “We’re part of this community and we’re trying to accomplish something in this community. Having a chance to get out here and have fun with these kids is a real treat for me.”
In addition to instruction on the ice, Hakstol also spent time with the student-athletes discussing their ambitions and answering their questions—from challenges he’s faced throughout his career, to the importance of teamwork on and off the ice, to making academics a priority in order to meet success.
Brandon Gibson, a freshman in high school from Pennsauken, NJ, was excited to hear from the new coach. “We feel lucky and honored that he decided to come to us today,” he said. “It was inspirational knowing people from small towns can make it big.”
Coach Hakstol enjoyed his time with the student-athletes. After all, he comes to the Flyers from 11 seasons as head coach at the University of North Dakota where ultimately his job was coaching student-athletes.
To say he has been successful at it is even an understatement. He helped UND to a .654 winning percentage, seven Frozen Four appearances in 11 seasons and produced 20 NHL players, 46 that have played professionally at some level, seven that have been Hobey Baker Award finalists and 11 players named All-Americans.
The session at the renovated Scanlon rink is one of 23 separate Snider Hockey summer camps, according to President and CEO of Snider Hockey, Scott Tharp. The programs and camps reach over 1,300 participants, which not only spend time on the ice, but valuable time in the classroom to further their education.
Comcast Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider created Snider Hockey in 2005 as a personal commitment to teaching children important life lessons. It’s mission is to build lives and unite communities using the sport of hockey to help educate young people to succeed in the game of life. Snider Hockey targets inner-city boys and girls who otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn to skate or to play ice hockey and has rapidly grown to include over 3,000 student-athletes.