Philadelphia Flyers’ forward Scott Hartnell practicing with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek today. Instead of preparing for a previously scheduled game against the Buffalo Sabres, he along with some current and former teammates are preparing for a charity game that will benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
“Operation Hat Trick”, which will be held at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on November 24, reveals the strength of character that is common among players throughout the National Hockey League.
Even though a number of active players have chosen to ply their trade overseas during the ongoing NHL lockout, some have remained in North America. I’m assuming that they’re hopeful a settlement can be reached so that at least a portion of the 2012-13 season can be saved.
Earlier this fall Max Talbot organized a Players’ Tour charity event in Canada. Now, Hartnell and New York Rangers’ forward Brad Richards will serve as captains of their respective teams in this upcoming exhibition game that is also designed to benefit a worthwhile cause.
Current and former Flyers who are scheduled to participate in the game in some fashion include: Kimmo Timonen, Wayne Simmonds, Braydon Coburn, Jody Shelley, Simon Gagne, James van Riemsdyk, Ville Leino, Justin Williams, Dan Carcillo and Steve Downie.
I think that it’s great that so many players want to participate. The event will surely raise awareness and needed funds for the poor souls who have been affected by the recent Hurricane that ravaged parts of New Jersey and New York.
The Flyers rightfully earned their “Broad Street Bullies” reputation in the 1970s. That era is revered by all long-time loyalists and understandably reviled by every detractor.
However, it’s been decades since Ed Snider’s team has resembled that rough-and-tumble orange brand. While current players wear the same emblem on the jerseys, their perspectives match the current age.
Hartnell’s hash tag “Hartnell Down” efforts last season relied on self-deprecating humor to raise money for charity. So, it’s natural that one of the more likeable Flyers in many years would also be leading this philanthropic line rush.
Because collective bargaining negotiations are at a standstill, this game is certain to be held next weekend. Here’s hoping that the event is a great success and that a resolution to all financial disagreements between the NHL and the Players’ Association will follow shortly thereafter.
Sean O’Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He was a freelance sports writer for five years in the 1990s and is currently a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo Contributor Network! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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