News of Halladay’s death saddens Flyers

News of any professional athlete’s death hits hard in the sports community.
But word of the passing of popular former Phillies pitcher Roy “Doc’’ Halladay had an especially big emotional impact on Philadelphia, including the Flyers hockey team.
Captain Claude Giroux said he met Halladay several times in recent years and had come to respect both the pitcher’s remarkable baseball talent and his personality.
“I was a big Blue Jays fan (Halladay began his career in Toronto),’’ Giroux said on Wednesday. “He was a real ambassador of the sport. . .it wasn’t a fun day.’’
Giroux admired the way Halladay zeroed in on game day.
“When it was game day for him, he was a very focused guy,’’ Giroux said. “He did a lot of good things for baseball.’’
Wayne Simmonds also grew up a Blue Jays fan, so there was a natural connection to Halladay.
“You know, it’s a tragic shame,’’ Simmonds said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.’’
Simmonds recalls Halladay as the strong, silent type.
“You know, growing up, I remember watching him play and I never really heard many (sound) cuts from him,’’ Simmonds said. “He would just go out and pitch a nine-inning shutout or something like that. It was nice watching him get a chance to pitch while he could.’’
Some in the media have taken to criticizing Halladay’s decision to fly “experimental’’ aircraft but Simmonds defended the ballplayer.
“You don’t get a lot of time to do stuff when you’re in sport in the offseason,’’ Simmonds said. “Obviously he had a passion for flying – I think I heard somewhere that his dad is a pilot. He got that from his father. He enjoyed it. It stinks that we’re standing here today talking about the loss of a 40-year-old man who had so much more to go.’’
Scott Laughton, who hails from the Toronto suburb of Oakville, said his dad took him to his first Blue Jays game and the news of Halladay’s death hit his father particularly hard.
“I talked to my dad this morning,’’ Laughton said. “He was a little bit choked up, seeing that. It’s tough.’’

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About Wayne Fish 2473 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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