Wayne Simmonds was traded to the Flyers in June 2011. He wasn’t the focus of a trade that sent then Flyers captain, Mike Richards to the L.A Kings.

He was a 22-year-old forward with 39 goals in his career. No Flyers fan knew what to expect of him. He then became the heart and soul for a fan base. Philadelphia is known for having some of the most passionate fans in the country, and when they love a player’s ethic and realness, they’ll treat them as heroes.

“I was just coming in here trying to prove myself as a good hockey player,” Simmonds said Wednesday night.

He did much more for the Flyers organization. The fans fell in love with a power forward that personified the city’s loyalty and toughness, and was a good scorer to boot. With the team for eight years, Simmonds was synonymous with Philly. He returned to Philadelphia as a visiting player playing for the New Jersey Devils, his first return to Philadelphia since being traded to the Nashville Predators last season.

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Simmonds was given a roaring ovation during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. He then received the boos that were out of just as much respect as the cheering.

 

SImmonds was just trying to prove he belonged years ago. He proved quite a lot in his eight years with the Flyers.

“I could have never imagined in my wildest dreams that they would take to me like they did,” Simmonds said before the game. “Obviously it’s an honor.”

While the organization loved him, they decided to trade him under new management after his production dipped during his contract year. It became increasingly unlikely he would stay on the team as it shifted its focus and hired new management this past year. No matter what happens, the love and respect for Wayne Simmonds will never fade in Philadelphia.

 

The Flyers will face the Vancouver Canucks in their third game of the fresh NHL season on Saturday at 10 p.m..

 

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