Philadelphia Flyers 21st Century All-Stars: A Brief History
As Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes embarks on his first career NHL all-star appearance, it seems an appropriate time to take a look back at some of the notable names that the Flyers have sent to this game/event over the past few decades. Join us for another trip down Orange and Black memory lane.
Beginning in 1998, the NHL convinced itself that the traditional East/West format had grown stale, introducing the concept of “North America vs. The World”. It was all very neatly tied in with the NHL sending its players to the Olympics for the first time just one month later. Fast forward to 2000 and the league was still using this format, which is where we’ll pick things up.
For that 2000 All-Star Game, the Flyers sent the impressive foursome of Eric Lindros, Mark Recchi, John LeClair, and Eric Desjardins, all of whom of course played for the ‘North America’ squad. In the end, the Flyers contingent only mustered a pair of assists, as their team lost 9-4.
The following year, Simon Gagne was the lone skater representative for the Flyers, but he made it count. Gagne netted two goals, including the game-winner, for the North Americans. Kooky netminder Roman Cechmanek played the middle period in net for ‘The World’, allowed six goals, and was roundly criticized for almost killing Paul Kariya when he dove to make a play. Fun times with that guy.
In 2002, the league used “North America vs. The World” for the final time, with Jeremy Roenick being the only Flyer to take part in the game. He did nothing of note. Roenick was back in 2003 and he dazzled at the skills competition by pulling a 4-for-4 in the accuracy shooting contest. In the actual game, he was held off the scoresheet as his East club lost in the first ever shootout in NHL all-star history.
In 2004, Roenick did the same exact thing, going 4-for-4 in accuracy shooting and then pointless in the actual game. This time, Keith Primeau was also along for the ride representing the Orange and Black. Then, the dark times came.
There was no NHL season in 2004-05, then the league decided not to hold an event in 2006 since they were already incorporating a break into the schedule for that year’s Olympics. Simon Gagne was the lone Flyer to make the cut when the game returned in 2007, and he was held off the scoresheet. Mike Richards and Kimmo Timonen made the trip to Atlanta for the 2008 game, and Richards picked up an assist in the East victory.
Jeff Carter went scoreless as the only Flyer in the 2009 game, then it wasn’t held due to the Olympics in 2010. In 2011, the NHL tried to mix things up again by holding a draft between team captains. Flyers Danny Briere and Claude Giroux ended up on opposite clubs, representing ‘Team Lidstrom’ and ‘Team Staal’, respectively. Giroux netted a goal and an assist in the game but Briere, not to be outdone, scored a pair of goals in a winning effort. This was also the year that the league introduced its Guardian Project with Stan Lee, and they’ve been getting laughed at for it ever since.
In 2012, the Flyers sent the triumvirate of Giroux, Timonen, and Scott Hartnell. Sean Couturier and Matt Read were also there as part of a rookie competition. In the game, Giroux scored and Hartnell had a pair of assists, but their ‘Team Alfredsson’ fell to Timonen’s ‘Team Chara’. Then there was another multi-year “lockout/Olympics” gap, pushing the next game to 2015. Giroux and Jakub Voracek repped the Flyers, and goals were aplenty. In a 17-12 game, Giroux had a goal and an assist, while Voracek went off for six points (3 G, 3 A).
In 2016, the NHL changed things up AGAIN, adopting the “each division plays in a round robin” format that’s still employed today. Since that point, the Flyers have sent one and only one player each year (and of course there was no game in 2021 due to Covid). Claude Giroux was the man in 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2022. Travis Konecny received the honor in 2020. Most notably, Wayne Simmonds made his lone career all-star appearance count in 2017. He scored three goals in his team’s two games, including the tournament winner, and he was named MVP. A fantastic job by the Wayne Train.
This weekend, Kevin Hayes becomes the 18th different Philadelphia Flyers player to suit up for an NHL All-Star Game this century. He’s definitely soaking it all in, and the Flyers faithful wish him all the best as he represents the Orange and Black.