PRACTICING IN KENSINGTON
There was certainly a lot of good feeling and merriment following the Flyers win on Long Island Saturday.
But rather than selfishly keeping it to themselves, the Flyers did something unique and special Sunday.
Oh, they practiced. When you are climbing out of an early season hole as the Flyers are doing, you can’t afford to let a good day of work slip by, but they weren’t at one of their usual haunts, namely the Voorhees Skate Zone or the Wells Fargo Center.
Instead, the Flyers took their practice on the road – sorta – and took to the ice in the Kensington section of Philadelphia at the Scanlon Ice rink, one of the refurbished hockey homes of the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation.
Members of the Snider Hockey program were able to sit rinkside to watch their hockey heroes work at their craft.
Coach Craig Berube made the practice a little easier – no hard skating drills or contact drills, but rather focusing on passing and shooting, which is good enough to put on the show for those attending.
“It was more of a fun practice,” Berube said. “Mr. Snider does such a great job with his youth hockey [initiative] and the guys love doing stuff like this and the kids really enjoy it. It’s really good for everybody.”
The idea was the brainchild of general manager Paul Holmgren, who away from the day-to-day operation of the hockey team is a fervent supporter of Snider Hockey.
“It’s important that we get out and do these types of things,” Berube said. “[Holmgren] knows that and so he asks us to do it and we do it.”
It makes it easier when the team has a good vibe about itself as the Flyers do right now. After feeling like they played well in a series of losses, the Flyers finally broke through against the New York Rangers last Thursday, and followed that up with a strong effort in a win in New York against the Islanders Saturday.
Having won two straight for the first time this season, made for even more pep in the step… or stride… on the ice at Scanlon.
“The ice was really good here,” said captain Claude Giroux. “It looked like the fans were really enjoying it and we were enjoying it too. It’s great to be here. The Foundation is unbelievable and for us to be able to help in any way is a good, and so a little practice like this is good and it’s been fun.”
And it’s good to see the Flyers having fun again after a few dark days earlier this month. And they know it too.
“To see 100 kids with huge smiles on their faces is really cool and it’s a great experience,” said Scott Hartnell. “Mr. Snider does so much for the community, not only for the Foundation, but all around. He is a very giving man and this was really cool. To do it after a win makes it that much better too.”
Snider Hockey is a cutting edge program that uses the sport of hockey coupled with a rigorous off-ice life skills curriculum and supplemental educational services to build character and academic skills for high-risk inner-city boys and girls from Philadelphia and Camden, NJ.
The foundation provides full equipment, ice time and experienced coaching to more than 3,000 children, at no charge to them or their families.
Snider Hockey was founded by Ed Snider, Chairman of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League. He is a man who believes deeply in the value of uniting communities as well as the importance of guiding young people to be strong and productive citizens. Out of respect for the sport of hockey and its athletes, and out of love for the cities of Philadelphia and neighboring Camden, NJ, he established Snider Hockey to bring the sport to children who otherwise may never have the opportunity to play, while giving them a leg up as young adults.