FanPost

Hey all, I'm a reader and very seldom commentor, but I really wanted to put this out...

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PHILADELPHIA FLYERS, COMCAST SPECTACOR, AND THE FLYER’S WIVES CHARITIES My name is Sean and I’m a lifelong Philadelphia Flyer fan. I was born in Camden, NJ in 1972, and my parents were also huge fans and it took off from there. Even though we left the area shortly after I was born, the love of the team remained in my family until now. I have literally traveled the world as a member of the U.S. Army, started a family, and now, even though we live in the New York Metropolitan area, my wife, my eight year old son, and I cheer for the Orange and Black. I am 14 years into a career with…a large metropolitan law enforcement agency. In 2003, I was recalled into the Army for a three year hitch, where I served in Korea, Iraq, and Colorado. It was while I was in Iraq that my son was born. Since returning, my love for hockey and the Flyers has grown to new heights. It first became almost a therapy for me, a chance to escape for a couple hours on game night, (I have to subscribe to Center Ice), forget the world and my demons, and root for something that matters to me. I took my family to their first game against the Ottawa Senators in 2010 and our guys won 5-1. That was the point where my wife and son got hooked. My son began to skate and play, and even though we all had to stomach the "Future Rangers" nonsense in clinics and rinks near us, he has developed a love for the game itself that brings indescribable joy to his mom and me as we watch him go. It’s a huge expense, but totally worth it. After seeing the Flyer’s Wives Carnival advertised for a couple of years, my wife and I decided that, this year, we’d make the trip down and see what it was all about. I bought the tickets before Christmas and gave them to my son on Christmas morning. His eyes lit up and he became very excited for the trip. On the morning of the event, we all put on Flyers gear, packed into the car and headed out. We arrived right before the allotted time for early admission, parked, and took our place in line. After just a few minutes, we were allowed in, what followed next was pure magic! Not really knowing the flow of the whole event, and not having pre-bought any photo or autograph sessions, we made our way to the bottom of the stands and onto the playing surface where we kind of just took everything in. The first sight we saw was Jay Rosehill climbing into a dunktank, ready to be sent into a pool of water for the enjoyment of the fans. We then continued on where we saw Coach Berube. My son was awestruck and I asked him if he’d like to try to get an autograph. He was incredibly shy, but as we made our way up to him, I introduced my son: "Hi Coach, this is my son, Jack." Coach Berube proceeded to engage my son in a short conversation and signed his hat for him. If the day had ended there, Jack would’ve have been just fine. We then went back into the concourse and walked around a bit until we saw a sign that advertised that Dave Schultz and Don Saleski were signing autographs. This was quite the opportunity as my son’s cousins have taken to calling him "Jack Hammer". We had just recently, as a family, watched HBO’s documentary "Broad Street Bullies" and my son was over the moon with sharing a nick name with a real Flyer. We got into line and waited for our turn, behind folks with gobs of paraphernalia and stuff to get signed. As we walked up to Mr. Schultz, I again introduced my son to him and told him about their shared moniker. He laughed and asked Jack, "So, I guess that means you score a lot?" To which my son answered, "No, but I do like to hit people." The original Hammer and Big Bird got quite a laugh at that, and both engaged my son in a short conversation before they also, signed his hat. Again our day could have ended right then and all would have been fine in the world. But as we continued our way around the concourse, two very pretty ladies crossed our path as they pushed a bizarre looking pedal type car around. They saw my son and made a beeline for him. I realized that they were actual wives of players based on their shirts, (you women folk call them blouses, I think). They asked him if he’d like to have his picture taken in the car, and because they were attractive females, he quickly hid behind me. My wife, seeing the opportunity for a good photo op, pried him from my waist and got him to get into the car. The ladies, who turned out to be Mrs. Lecavalier and Mrs. Hall respectively, each gave him a quick hug and gathered behind him for a photo. They were kind, gracious, lovely ladies who very obviously cared very much about not only putting on a great event, but including and interacting with the fans and kids in attendance. My son was thrilled. The cherry on top of the day was when we saw Sean Couturier playing video games with fans. My wife asked my son if he’d like to try to get in on the action, and he hemmed and hawed about it. He finally agreed and we got in line, right after the people who would be last to play with Sean. It was then that another thoughtful, (and attractive!), young lady with a Carnival "Blouse" on came up to Jack and asked him if he’d like a pair of furry ears to wear on his head. He accepted, and as she walked away, I saw the number "36" bedazzled on her back. Not a minute later, Zac Rinaldo approached and Jack was escorted to his side. After a quick briefing, Jack and Zac began to play. I heard my son ask him, "How’s your ankle?" Zac gave him a double take and then proceeded to chuckle and say that he was getting better and hoped to play soon. They played for a while while Jack and Zac got interviewed by CSN, and then Zac posed for a photo with Jack and his mom and I. And of course, he signed Jack’s hat. When we left the Wells Fargo Center, we were all tired but incredibly excited by the day we had just had. It was a long ride back home, but every now and again, I’d see movement in the rear view mirror, and it was my son, the joy of my life, taking off his hat and staring at it like a prized possession. We knew we were going to a charity event, and we thought we might get to see someone associated with the team. We had no idea how involved the players and their families would get. I’d like to say "Thank You" on behalf of my family for the joy that was given to us that day. It was an extremely well put together event, very well organized and fun for everyone. The fact that all proceeds go to charity just makes it feel even better to have been a part of it. My favorite part was being able to see the overwhelming happiness experienced by my son as he interacted with all those I mentioned above. They are all a credit to not only themselves and their organization, but to their families that raised them so well. If this was a mandatory appearance to be made by them, we never would’ve known it. We will definitely be back next year! We are proud and happy to be "associated" with such a classy and top notch organization. We can’t wait for our next trip down, on March 17, when the Flyers take on the Stars. Since our experience, we’ve even talked about maybe buying a partial season ticket package. Let’s Go Flyers! And thanks again, Sean

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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