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Centennial Fan Arena

NHL Centennial Fan Arena visits Philadelphia

Chance to see Stanley Cup, memorabilia attracts fans before Flyers game

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

PHILADELPHIA -- Will Betts wanted to do something special for his daughter, Kacee Contee, who turns 7 on Monday. 

Taking her to see the Stanley Cup certainly earned him Father of the Year points.

"I told her we were coming to this to see the Cup and she was really excited by it," said Betts, who also has tickets to the Philadelphia Flyers game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; CSN-PH, FS-CR, NHL.TV). "I introduced her to hockey this year and the first game she saw on TV was against the Hurricanes, and what a fitting way for the season to go out than for her to see her first current Flyers game [in person] against the Hurricanes."

Betts was one of the many who came out to see the NHL Centennial Fan Arena in the parking lot at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday.

Seeing the Stanley Cup also was why sisters Brianna and Rachel Abbott and their friend Morgan Szoke made the 90-minute drive south from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The Abbott sisters wore Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys, while Szoke was sporting a Flyers T-shirt. Brianna Abbott said she wanted to see the Cup because, "We're the champions. Had to come see it."

Despite rooting for different teams, the girls are close friends. 

"Morgan invited me," said Rachel. "We're rivals in every sport but we're still the best of friends."

Derek Poletis was one of the first through the line to take a picture with the Cup, along with his sons Carter, 9, and Dylan, 8. Both boys wore Flyers jerseys but Dylan admitted to being a Red Wings fan and trying to find Pavel Datsyuk's name on the Cup.

"It's more to share with the kids," Derek Poletis said. "It's all about sharing those memories with the kids. It's a great time to take the families out and enjoy it."

Kiara Stefanik was another Penguins fan in attendance. She had her picture taken in a replica Flyers locker room inside the 53-foot museum truck, along with her friends Mason Gagne and Bianca Roccia.

Stefanik said she was born in Pittsburgh but lives in southern New Jersey now. Sitting between Flyers 50th anniversary jerseys of Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds was something she was able to tolerate, but just barely.

"Did you see the faces I was making?" she joked.

Among the old jerseys and helmets and interactive videos was a display showing the evolution of hockey sticks through the decades. 

"The stick from 1910, insane," Roccia said. "There's nothing to it. [Gagne] said it looked like it was made from a table."

Devon Pavpoucas and James McLaughlin, 17-year-old players with the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, also spent time in the museum truck

"It's seeing everything the Flyers was and everything hockey was," Pavpoucas said. "It's amazing. The videos, I like seeing the records. Everything is amazing."

He said he most enjoyed sitting in the Flyers locker. 

"I'll be there [for real] someday," he said.

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