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Flyers prospects get lessons on history, teamwork

Development camp includes screening of documentary about Cup-winning teams in 1970s

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHl.com Deputy Managing Editor

STONE HARBOR, N.J. -- Cameron York was one of 41 Philadelphia Flyers prospects packed into a movie theater Thursday to learn about the team's past.

Development camp shifted from the ice to the beach for the day, starting with a private morning viewing of "Broad Street Bullies," the 2010 documentary produced for HBO that highlighted the Flyers' Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975.

"I had not seen it before," said York, the Flyers' first-round pick (No. 14) at the 2019 NHL Draft. "It was awesome. Being from (Anaheim Hills) California, I had no idea about any of that. To see that was really cool, to see how they got that identity and what Philadelphia hockey is really all about was super special. Everyone really enjoyed it."

Jimmy Watson, who played on those championship teams, talked to the prospects afterward. What he was hoping they learned is the team-first focus that he believes remains pivotal to championship teams, whether it's the 1970s or today.

"There's nothing like a team," Watson said. "Individually doesn't mean anything, it doesn't bring you the satisfaction of being on a team and that's what we really tried to ingrain with the Flyers. We've always played that way. [1970s captain Bobby Clarke] epitomized that and made sure we all followed that. ... Winning a hockey game was more fun than scoring a goal. That's it."

Jay O'Brien, the No. 19 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, said watching the movie and hearing from Watson provided even more motivation for him to eventually play in Philadelphia.

"It was unbelievable, I had chills the whole time," he said. "From [Dave] Schultz speaking and listening to Bobby Clarke, those are the pioneers of hockey. It was unbelievable to watch the history and how the fans are so passionate here."

Philadelphia director of medical services Jim McCrossin, who oversaw the Trial on the Isle, said he also wanted the prospects to learn that the Flyers hold their players and prospects to a different standard.

"There's standards set way back when, and I think we may have gotten away from that a little bit as a team," he said. "Now it's a re-focus, and it starts here with the younger kids. But our veterans who are with us right now, they get it. I think you're going to see a different team."

Carson Briere grew up learning that standard while his father, Daniel Briere, played forward for the Flyers from 2007-13. But in his first development camp before he begins his freshman season at Arizona State University, he said seeing "Broad Street Bullies" in this environment resonated differently with him.

"When you're younger you don't really realize who they are, what they did for the city," Briere said. "Being older, more mature, grown up, you realize what they did for the city and you have an appreciation for them."

After the film and lunch at the Yacht Club of Stone Harbor, the prospects had an autograph signing at Stone Harbor Elementary School. York, Bobby Brink, a second-round pick (No. 34) in the 2019 Draft and Morgan Frost, the No. 27 pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, helped lead a clinic for kids.

More than 200 people came out for the signing, and all money raised was earmarked for Vineland Veterans Memorial Home and the Coast Guard training center in Cape May, New Jersey, to offset any costs for the recruits to travel home for the holidays.

The day finished with a 4-on-4 beach volleyball tournament, won by the team of York, Brink, Frost and goalie Felix Sandstrom (No. 70, 2015 NHL Draft).

Development camp concludes with a 3-on-3 tournament Friday and a 5-on-5 scrimmage Saturday, so the history lesson and fan interaction represented a fun way to spend the day.

"The way they planned this day was excellent," Frost said. "The main point was how much respect this organization has and how much it means to the city and all the fans. I think you really got to earn the right to have the logo on your chest. It's just so much history and you want to be part of it."

 

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