Simmonds to sign one-day contract so he can retire as a Flyer

Wayne Simmonds

VOORHEES, N.J. – During his eight-year career with the Flyers, Wayne Simmonds proved to be one of the most accountable players in team history, especially after a tough loss.

      Reporters would flock to him in the post-game locker room to get his unvarnished analysis of why the team – and especially Simmonds himself – did not play up to their usual standards.

      On Monday, Simmonds, 35, announced his retirement from professional hockey. He hopes to stay connected in hockey in some fashion. Simmonds was inactive this season. He last played for Toronto in the 2022-23 season.

      The Flyers plan to honor Simmonds on Saturday, April 13 when the New Jersey Devils, another one of the teams Simmonds played for, visit the Wells Fargo Center.

      Simmonds will sign a one-day contract with the Philadelphia team so that he can officially retire as a Flyer.

      The honesty and candor Simmonds demonstrated in Philadelphia serves as a model for future Flyers generations.

      “All the teams I played for I owed transparency,” Simmonds said during a media Zoom call. “You know that’s just kind of the way I am.”

      Of the 1,037 games Simmonds played, 584 of them were with the Flyers. He also spent three seasons at the start of his career with the Los Angeles Kings, and after the Flyers, 128 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, 61 with the Devils, 17 with the Nashville Predators and seven with the Buffalo Sabres.

      “You know, Philadelphia has always had a special place in my heart,” Simmonds said. “It’s been unbelievable to me. Philly’s a blue-collar town and that’s kind of what I brought to the game. I think that’s what endeared me to the fans. I loved every second of it. It was amazing, my time there.”

      Having been a big part of the Ed Snider Hockey Foundation, Simmonds wanted to at least finish his career as a Flyer, if in name only.

      “That was one of the biggest things of why I wanted to retire as a Flyer. It was my relationship with the fans and the community. . .I’m still an honorary board member on the Snider Foundation. So for me, it was something extremely special. I’d like to get to the city more now that I’m not playing and participating in a lot of those functions.

      “I remember when I was younger, my mother always said to me, if you ever make it to the NHL, you have to give back to the community. I started with my hometown, which was Scarborough. And that just naturally led into Philadelphia. The people of Philadelphia accepted me as one of their own. For me to have been there for eight years, it was always right for me to give back to the community and do whatever I could possibly do.”

      When the Flyers gave him a big sendoff at an outdoor game against Pittsburgh, it brought a tear to Simmonds’ eye.

      “That moment there kind of encapsulated it all,” he said. “I remember getting that helmet and speaking to (Claude) Giroux. . .I had tears coming out of my eyes. I really didn’t want to be traded ever from Philadelphia. It was just the nature of the business. It was very disheartening to get traded but it’s a business and I know how things go. That’s why it was important for me to sign this one-day contract, come back and retire as a Flyer.

      Simmonds was a heart-and-sould player with the Flyers.

      “Yeah, I gave everything I had in Philadelphia,” he said. “It kind of cut my career short but I wouldn’t change anything one bit. Every ounce, every tear. . .it was just something that I tried to give everything I possibly could to try and win. I always meant everything I could. I have so much love for the fans there. It was important to me that I did give it my all.”

      Flyers players like Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny, who played alongside Simmonds in Philadelphia, had nothing but good things to say about him.

      “He’s through and through what you call a Philadelphia Flyer,” said Konecny, who was around back in 2017 when he broke into the NHL and Simmonds was in his last full year here. “He’s everything you want to be as a Flyer, on and off the ice. He was a great mentor for me, taught me a lot about work ethic, competing and caring to win. He brought it every single night.”

      Added Couturier: “He was the ultimate teammate, warrior. He would do anything for his teammates. Had a big impact on the city, on and off the ice. I think he was really involved in the community and it just shows you the type of person he is, the character he has. I definitely learned a lot from a leader like him that’s for sure.”

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About Wayne Fish 2426 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.