VOORHEES, N.J. – It might not be the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals or the 2010 Miracle in Beantown but Friday night’s “Alumni Extravaganza” pitting the Flyers Alumni against the Boston Bruins Alumni at the Wells Fargo Center in the 2024 Flyers Alumni Game should be a lot of fun.
One look at the ex-Flyers’ roster is all it will take to understand what we’re talking about.
It’s all part of the Mark Recchi “Hall of Fame Weekend” which will see the former NHL great inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame in pre-game ceremonies prior to Saturday’s Flyers-Bruins game.
As for Friday night’s game, it’s a veritable who’s who of some of Philadelphia’s greatest professional hockey talent.
For instance, there’s the reunion of the Crazy Eights Line, featuring Eric Lindros (88), Brent Fedyk (18) and Recchi (8), which patrolled North American hockey rinks in the early ‘90s.
Lindros also will be on hand to partner with John LeClair for two-thirds of the infamous Legion of Doon Line which was a dominant offensive force for the Flyers from 1995-1997.
The Flyers’ roster will include three Hockey Hall of Famers: Lindros, Recchi and perennial All-Star Mark Howe.
There have been plenty of alumni games throughout the years but this might be the greatest collection of ex-Flyer stars ever assembled in one place.
“This is a game with a lot of players who had their best hockey in Philadelphia wearing the Flyers jersey,” noted Scott Hartnell, who will be playing for the Flyers in this game. “It’s always an honor, even though I’ve been done playing a number of years. To put on that Flyers jersey again and playing the Bruins alumni, it’s an honor. I’m very excited for Friday.
On the Flyers are a number of former NHL All-Stars, including Howe, Joe Watson, Lindros, Recchi, LeClair, Kimmo Timonen, Patrick Sharp and Hartnell.
Then you have the reunion of the “Bruise Brothers,” that is, Dave Brown and Daryl Stanley, who made things uncomfortable for a lot of teams in the NHL in the mid-1980s.
Brown and Stanley played junior hockey together and formed a friendship which lasts to this day.
Back in 1984, a special “Bruise Brothers” T-shirt was the top-selling Flyers merchandise item for 1984.
“They should have kept on selling them,” Brown said with a laugh. “Back in those days, they really didn’t promote merchandise. The shirts were sold, I think, for two games. They might still be selling them now, sort of a vintage thing.”
As for the game itself, don’t expect things to get too physical. Like all alumni games, physical stuff will be kept to the bare minimum.
“I don’t have a problem with that,” Brown said. “It’s going to be a no-hit game. Nobody gets hurt. The whole point is getting together and have the fans see us skating around. They get a kick out of that, I guess. Most of it is for charity and both teams are going to benefit from that.
“Most of all, it’s just about getting together and seeing guys. We’re all getting older.”
And how about this: The game will mark a special accomplishment for Flyers great Joe Watson who at the age of 80 will become the only player who has suited up as a member of the Flyers and Flyers Alumni for seven consecutive decades. Watson writes himself in NHL and Flyers history as a two-time Stanley Cup winner, two-time NHL All-Star Game selection, Flyers Hall of Fame member and co-founder of the Flyers Alumni Association.
All proceeds from the 2024 Flyers Alumni Game will benefit Flyers Alumni Association and Flyers Charities giving efforts to support the Philadelphia community.
There’s sure to be some good-natured kidding when the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series is mentioned. The Flyers rallied from a 3-0 deficit and later played the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final. Hartnell, Timonen and goalie Brian Boucher were on that team.
Saturday’s ceremonies should be special, too. Recchi still holds the Flyers’ single-season record for points (123). He also won Stanley Cups with three different teams (Pittsburgh, Carolina, Boston).
“He’s just a heck of a human being,” Hartnell said. “You hear (TV commentator) Al Morganti talking about ‘the Recchi-ng Ball’ and how he was so well-liked by teammates and how he’s liked as a coach. It means a lot that you can adapt and be a good hockey mind. His statistics are unbelievable. Hats off to a great career. He deserves this honor.”
Brown feels the same way.
“Great player,” he said. “He was so hungry to score all the time. A very fierce competitor. You had to know where he was when you were playing against him.”