VOORHEES, N.J. – The lives of former Flyers Barry Ashbee, Pelle Lindbergh and Dmitri Tertyshny were all cut short well before their time.
The death of Tertyshny was particularly tragic because the defenseman was only 22 years old at the time of his passing.
He was killed in a freak boating accident in British Columbia on July 23, 1999 and his loss had a devastating emotional impact on the Flyers.
At his memorial service, then general manager Bob Clarke served as a eulogist and had to pause for a moment to maintain his composure.
Fast forward to this week’s Flyers Development Camp at the Flyers Training Center and one name jumps off the roster sheet: Tertyshny.
It’s Alexander Tertyshny, a camp invitee, who has been playing as a defenseman for American International College (AHA) in Philadelphia. He’s Dmitri’s son and was only three months old when his father died.
The 24-year-old Tertyshny was asked how inspired he is to continue his father’s legacy.
“The most important thing for me – my dad, his character was very strong,” Tertyshny said after a morning session on Sunday. “That’s what got him through a lot of his career. Like during training camp, I’m pretty sure when he arrived, he was pretty much ticketed for the Phantoms.
“But my mom was there for him, he was pretty set in his goals playing for the Flyers. If anything, I just want to tackle adversity the way that he did. I just want to be a person he can be proud of.”
After Dmitri’s death, the family eventually decided to keep Philadelphia as home. The chance to possibly wear the same jersey as his dad sounds like a very important thing.
“It’s very special,” he said. “It means a lot to me. It means a lot to my family. It (the camp) is definitely a week I’ll cherish. It’s something I’m looking to get a lot out of. I want to get better as a player. I have to clean up my college career a bit. I’m confident I can do that.
“My father had to get through adversity. I feel I’m no different.”
The 6-0, 170-pound backliner, who is next headed to Stonehill College, would be a long shot to make it to Flyers training camp in September but no doubt there are quite a few people who hope he beats the odds.
A couple years back during the COVID era, Tertyshny actually called Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr and asked if he could take part in the camp. Things didn’t work out then but they have now.
“I called him about a month ago and he got back to me,” Tertyshny said. “They said how would you feel about coming to camp? It was surreal. Especially for the past year, which has been tough for my mother and I. I think she was a lot happier than I was.”
Recently hired special advisor to hockey operations John LeClair played with Dmitri and Alexander had a chance to chat with him on Sunday.
“He and Keith Jones (recently hired president of hockey operations) saw my dad score his first goal,” Alexander said. “So I wanted to talk to them. I asked as many questions as I could out there (on the ice). It’s definitely a moment I’ll cherish.”
Just how emotional did he get wearing that Flyer camp jersey on the first day?
“Oh, for sure,” he said. “Ever since I was a kid I’ve been a huge Flyers fan. I have all the cassettes of my dad’s games. I watched all of those growing up. It’s surreal to be here and I definitely want to make the most of it.
“It was tough growing up. . .for my mom. To afford playing ice hockey, it’s really expensive. She did everything she could to support me to make sure I could follow my dreams and try and follow in my father’s footsteps.”