2019 Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp Underway
The 5th annual Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp is underway in Atlantic City. On Friday night, the Alumni threw a first-class welcome reception at the Tropicana Hotel's "Top of the Trop" room. Apart from catching up with most of the attending Alumni at some point -- as always, Joe Watson came over to talk about the current Flyers offseason, and specifically about how he believes former LA King forward Andy Andreoff is going to make the Flyers' opening night roster -- it was great to get to meet many of the attendees, especially the ones with whom I'm connected on social media but only met face-to-face for the first time last night.
While the majority of the attendees are based in the greater tri-state area, there are attendees from all across North America, including Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Quebec, California, Oregon, Texas, Illinois and various places in between. There is one female player; Philadelphia area native and New York resident goaltender Heather Meister (Team CDW). Also a special shout-out to Brian George of Team River Rock Academy and the Jaffe brothers (Howard, Mark and Fred) of Team CDW. I've been connected with Brian and Howard on Facebook for awhile and have spoken to Brian by phone before but yesterday was our first in-person hello.
Below is the schedule of events for Saturday.
8 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.: Charter round trip mini-bus transportation from Tropicana to Atlantic City Flyers Skate Zone and back.
8:15 a.m.: Continental breakfast begins at Skate Zone for players and coaches (fresh fruit, yogurt, bagels, danish, muffins, juices and coffee).
9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.: Team Tito's practice (black jersey) with coaches Bill Barber, Bill Clement and Brad Marsh.
10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.: Team CDW practice (grey jersey) with coaches Ian Laperriere and Keith Jones.
Noon to 1 p.m.: Team Toyota (white practice jersey, camo game jersey) practice with coaches Danny Briere and Martin Biron.
1;15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m: Team River Rock Academy (orange jerseys) practice with coaches Mark Howe and Joe Watson.
2:30 p.m.: Game between Team Tito's and Team CDW
4:15 p.m.: Game between Team Toyota vs. Team River Rock
7:00 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Complimentary happy hour and appetizers for spouses/ significant others of players to be held at Havana Tower Summit Suite at the Tropicana. Flyers Charities executive director Denise Sullivan is the host.
7:15 p.m.: Transport for campers and coaches from Tropicana to Ducktown Tavern.
7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.: Tented outdoor pig roast (roast pig, bbq chicken, burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, pasta salad) and full open bar at Ducktown Tavern, axe-throwing cases, performance by a magician/mentalist.
10:30 p.m.: Return transport from Ducktown Tavern to Tropicana.
I want to express a personal note of gratitude to the Flyers Alumni Association for all that they do on my behalf. Without exception, the Alumni have always treated me not just like someone who works for them managing their social media and official website content but like an extended member of the organization itself. Two years ago, Joe Watson and Brad Marsh had me come along during the Alumni's tour of Russia, where I was on the bench during games and came along for all off-ice activities. At the Charity Classic last year, Brian Propp and Bernie Parent motioned me over and insisted that I come stand with all the Alumni -- and bring my son along -- during the introductions of the participants.
This year, Bob Kelly and Marshy brought me along to the fifth annual Flyers Alumni Fantasy Camp in Atlantic City and even offered to have me bring along my wife and kids. Flyers Amateur and Youth Hockey director Rob Baer got me all set up at the Tropicana. During last night's welcome reception at the Top, Lou Nolan introduced me to the attendees.
I love the work that I do for the Flyers and for the Alumni, because it never feels like work. The same goes for HockeyBuzz, where Ek and COO Eric O'Dell have always been in my corner from my very first blog back in July 2006 to this very day. Two summers ago, I had an opportunity to go elsewhere for significantly more money but, after talking it over with my wife, decided to follow my heart and stay put. I've never regretted that decision.