For one night, and perhaps one night only, the Philadelphia Flyers’ fan base refused an opportunity to be hostile toward an opponent.
New Jersey Devils forward Wayne Simmonds, who spent eight seasons with the Flyers, received a warm ovation from the Wells Fargo Center crowd upon returning to play his former team for the first time.
The Flyers held a quick video tribute highlighting Simmonds’ tenure with the organization, with former teammates Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk and Sean Couturier among those paying homage to his leadership qualities.
Upon being traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the Flyers in June 2011, Simmonds quickly emerged as a fan favourite and posted consecutive 30-goal plus seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Simmonds was dealt to the Nashville Predators in February and was given the prestigious Mark Messier Leadership Award at the end of the year, becoming the first player to receive the honour after being traded midseason.
Simmons signed with the Devils on a one-year deal in July and while he's a fan favourite tonight in Philly, he'll quickly become nothing more than a divisional rival. For one last evening, however, the "Wayne Train" is full of passengers that love him.
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