Before Paul Holmgren and Rick Tocchet were inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame last Monday, 32 alumni took the ice for an alumni game.
Joining them were AAHA officials Tim Holtz, Laura White, Shawn Milligan, and Evan Kehoe.
“It was such a great experience to be asked to skate on the same ice as so many historic Flyers hockey players,” White said. “You could just feel it in the atmosphere how excited the fans in the building were to see icons throughout the years all on the same ice.”
The players were split up into two teams: Team Holmgren and Team Tochet. Alumni such as John LeClair, Scott Hartnell, Scottie Upshall, Joffrey Lupul, Eric Lindros, Mike Knuble, Brad Marsh, and Holmgren himself. Joe Watson and Reggie Leach also played, at 78 and 71, respectively.
“I was a little taken back when we first got on the ice, skating in front of 6700 people, and some of them being officiating peers and just fans in general, you don't want to make any mistakes or fall,” Holtz said. “It was fun when we did our warm up lap to be boo'd by the crowd though that takes some of the nerves out of it.”
Team Holmgren beat Team Tocchet 6-5, leaving Upshall with a hat trick and Knuble with a bloody cheek. The wound was the product of an unfortunate accident, so the officials didn’t have to come down too hard on any legendary Flyers.
“There’s a lot of value in staying connected to the game as an official,” Kehoe said. “Staying connected brings on opportunities like this game. Skating with very close friends, around Flyers royalty, in front of diehard fans, and close family and friends.”