Former Flyer and 1993 Stanley Cup champion John LeClair, has been selected to the USA hockey Hall of Fame class of 2009
“I’d like to thank USA hockey,” he said. ” I grew up in the age of the ’80 Olympic team and to be able to wear the jersey and play in some meaningful games for USA hockey was a thrill of a lifetime. It’s a tremendous honor for me to be inducted into the hall.”
LeClair was the first American-born player to score three consecutive 50-goals seasons. The University of Vermont standout, began his career with the Montreal Canadiens, where he won a cup in 1993. He was brought to the Flyers in 1994, with defenseman Eric Desjardins, in exchange for Mark Recchi. The trade is known as one of the best in Flyers’ history.
LeClair played a distinguished 10 years with the Flyers, where he scored 643 points in 649 games.
For the past five years, the Flyers have hosted a special preseason game at the Comcast-Spectacor owned John Labatt Centre in London, ON. But they have never seen a draw like this.
“They were gone within minutes,” said Brian Green, a JLC box office manager. “Six people had to be turned away.”
Out of the 8,000 available seats for the Sept. 17 contest against the Maple Leafs, 4,000 were for sale. And people from the surrounding area lined up by the hundreds to get their hands on them.
London, located about two hours south-west of Toronto, has a hotbed of Leaf and general hockey fans. The town also includes one of the more popular Canadian Junior teams, the London Knights.
“Whenever it’s any Canadian team, tickets do go very quickly,” Green said.
And they said a second team wouldn’t work in Ontario.
Anthony SanFilippo of the Delco Times is reporting that former Columbus defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen will be in town by the end of the weekend for a physical. And if the 6’2, 211 lbs. blue liner passes all that’s thrown at him, he will become the newest Flyer.
When Simon Gagne spent the 2007-08 season on the shelf with concussion issues, many downplayed the impact of healthy return. 74 points later, Gagne ranked third on the Flyers in points and was an large part of the team’s success in 2008-09.
For similarly damaged scorer Danny Briere, the same road looks set to be traveled.
Just one year after drafting 2008 QMJHL Defenseman of the Year Marc-Andre Bourdon, 67th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the two-way blue liner is going pro. On Friday, the Flyers inked Bourdon to an entry-level deal, in which terms were not disclosed.
“Marc-Andre turns pro after an outstanding 2008-09 season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he was honored for his play during the regular season and in the playoffs,” said Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren. “We believe Marc-Andre has tremendous potential to develop into a solid defenseman at the next level.”
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, managed a Q&A sit down with former Flyer and new Washington Capital Mike Knuble. And although Mike didn’t discuss his time in Philly much, he still hit on what reaction he hopes to get upon his return to the Wachovia Center on Oct. 6.
“I don’t know,” Knuble said, when asked if he would be booed. “Maybe there’d be a smattering of boos. I hope not. I think I gave Philly a few good years.”
Knuble was the consummate professional in his four years in Philly. He wasn’t the fastest skater, nor did he have the best hands, but he brought it every night, played through injuries and was consistent. There is no doubt the 37-year old played the game the way it was meant to be played. And for that, there is nothing but respect from Flyers’ fans.
Mike left the flyers with no ill-will. He gave General Manager Paul Holmgren every chance to match any offer received from other clubs. But with the Flyers stuck in limited cap space hell, it made it impossible to match Washington’s offer of two ears, $2.8 million per.
Philly fans may not have the best reputation when it comes to treating opposing players with respect. But Flyers’ fans especially respect the game and the people who play it right. Because of that, not only will Knuble not be booed upon his return, but will may very well receive a nice ovation.
That is until he scores.
After 1332 NHL games, 513 goals and countless memories made with his demeanor on and off the ice, former Flyer and all-time great Jeremy Roenick, appears to be riding off into the sunset. But he’s not quite ready to admit it yet.
“I’m really not on the fence,” Roenick told Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic. “I really know what I’m doing. I’m just not going to announce it yet.”