VOORHEES, N.J. – U.S. Army captain Erin Magnusson, a former high school goaltender, sidled over to Flyers rookie netminder Alex Lyon on Tuesday morning to ask him a few questions about their mutual position.
But it was Lyon who ended up picking Magnusson’s brain, asking more about her career in the military service than stopping pucks.
About a dozen troops from the Joint Base (Dix-McGuire) were on hand for a visit to the Flyers locker room at the Skate Zone, an opportunity to get autographs and photographs with their favorite players.
As usual, it wound up to be about an hour of the Flyers being the ones who appreciated the opportunity to thank these brave men and women for their service to our country.
“That (recognition) is really cool,’’ said Magnusson, a native of Mount Olive, N.J. (in the northern part of the state). “It (military service) is just a job I do. I guess to them it’s just their job. It’s funny how we look at that. We both kind of see each other in that same perspective. . .my job is to be in the military and their job is to go play hockey.
“It’s very humbling. I’m really grateful that they opened this up and gave us this opportunity to see this.’’
Several players and military personnel talked about the similarities of teamwork for the two vocations and how that chemistry is important for success.
“Absolutely,’’ she said. “All team sports are very much the same. Even growing up playing hockey, we talked about it being like a battlefield. You go out there and put your body on the line. You play for your teammates and you do what you can for them.
“That’s kind of the same thing in the military. You’re just on a little bit broader of a scale, where it’s all about working for the guy next to you and being a part of that team.’’
She was asked if it felt weird to be thanked so many by players and coaches.
“It’s always feels weird when people thank me,’’ she said with a smile. “Because I have such a great experience and I love the military.
“For me there’s no real hardship. Sometimes you do things you don’t necessarily want to do. But for the most part I love my job, I love what I do. To put on my uniform everyday, I’m proud to do it.
“So to hear them say thank you, it’s amazing. Because I want to thank them for providing me with that entertainment. It’s such a great thing to watch.’’
Magnusson grew up a Devils fan but was diplomatic about her allegiance in the presence of the Flyers.
“I’m a huge hockey fan, I grew up with hockey,’’ Magnusson said. “It’s in my blood. I spent my whole childhood in ice rinks.
“So to be able to come in here and watch an actual NHL practice, meet these guys and hear about their experiences, it’s amazing.’’
She chatted with Lyon for quite some time.