After weeks of rumors and speculation the Flyers officially announced their Winter Classic Alumni Game roster Friday.
The team that will take the ice at Citizens Bank Park Dec. 31 at 1 p.m. is full of former Orange and Black stars including seven Stanley Cup champions like Bob “the Hound” Kelly, Reggie Leach and Orest Kindrachuk; 16 former Flyers All-Stars like Eric Desjardins, Brian Propp and Jeremy Roenick; six of the eight All-Time Flyers scorers including John LeClair and Eric Lindros; and three Hall of Famers in Bill Barber, Bob Clarke and Mark Howe.
“It truly is a remarkable gathering of many of the greatest players to ever wear the Orange and
Black,” said chairman Ed Snider (a Hall of Famer himself). “It will be a thrill for all of us to see these greats back on the ice one more time... I cannot wait!”
Besides the players on the ice there will greats participating in other realms. Pat Quinn, who guided the Fly Guys to the 1980 Stanley Cup, will be coaching the squad against the New York Rangers alum. And franchise greats including Gary Dornhoefer, Bernie Parent, Keith Primeau and Dave “The Hammer” Schultz will be participating as well.
“This game will be a celebration of more than 45 years of Philadelphia Flyers hockey, as this alumni team represents nearly every major accomplishment in our history,” said Comcast- Spectacor President Peter Luukko. “It is a dream come true for Flyers fans everywhere to see many of our greatest players assembled for this once-in-a-lifetime event."
Of course as is the case with any event like this, the players not on the ice are as much a story as those on the ice. There is no Ron Hextall in net, no Mikael Renberg on Lindros’ line, no Sutter brothers, no Rick MacLeish and no Rod Brind'Amour.
But the biggest glaring hole is at goalie where the Flyers will turn to Mark LaForest of all of 38 games with Philly and Neil Little of just two games with the Flyers to keep the powerful Rangers out of the net.
At least the Rangers have two big glaring omissions on their roster -- neither “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky nor Mark Messier will play for coach Mike Keenan's team. The Rangers alum will be led by Adam Graves, Brian Leetch and goalie John Vanbiesbrouck (a former Flyer as well).