Flyers, fans show their support for Boston

Flyers, fans show their support for Boston
April 24, 2013, 12:45 pm
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PHILADELPHIA -- While the experience on ice was a disaster for the Bruins as they lost, 5-2, to the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center, the feelings of support and love from Philly toward Boston were undeniable throughout the game.

The Flyers game operations staff termed it as support from “one tough town to another”, and video messages from Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Scott Hartnell among others urged Philadelphia fans to keep contributing 50/50 raffle money toward the One Boston Fund. The Flyers players all donned “Boston Strong” patches on their uniforms and a decal on their helmets. At the conclusion of the game, every players’ jersey was made available for auction with proceeds benefiting onefundboston.org at meigray.com.

The “Boston Strong” video and “God Bless America” performed by Lauren Hart were respectful, moving and patriotic. The feelings of togetherness, support and community were tangible throughout the game, and that’s a credit to the entire Flyers organization. 

It comes come as no surprise that Auburn, Mass. native Peter Luukko -- President and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast-Spectator, which includes the Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center -- had something to do with the night's tributes.

“I’m not surprised at all to see how resonant the 'Boston Strong' message has come out of Boston, and this city [of Philadelphia] is very similar. It’s a city that has a nice edge to it,” said Luukko, who has played hockey all his life and whose son Nick is currently playing hockey for the University of Vermont. “They were horrified and they weren’t happy about what happened, but they’ve stood together and moved forward. We were really excited to do our part [in Philadelphia] and honor the heroes."

“And that the same raise some money for [The One Boston Fund] and show our support for Boston. That’s the most important thing. It’s amazing to see what’s happening across the entire country because at the end of the day we’re all Americans. We may have rivalries on the ice or the baseball field, but at the end of the day we all stick together. That’s pretty special.”

Like everybody else, Luukko went through stages watching the events of last week after the horrific Marathon Monday bombings.

“Having been to the marathon a number of times, you see the horror and you feel the fear. You see the chaos. You start getting on the cell phone . . . you can’t get hold of people,” he said. “You’re trying to check with your buddies and families to see how everybody is just like everybody else around the country."

"Then on Day No. 2 you get the anger that starts setting in. Who are these people, and why would they do such a thing? Then you move on to Part Three, which is the healing. You’re glad the suspects have been caught. But to me what was really touching was watching all people, but specifically so many young people, really cheering on the police officers. That’s something really good that’s going to come out of this terrible situation.”

At the end of the game it was learned the Flyers fans raised $85,595 through Tuesday night’s 50/50 raffle at Wells Fargo Center, which is believed to be the single largest 50/50 purse in United States history. Words of support are nice, but the actions of the Flyers organization and an entire city of people showed once again there is a strong heart beating underneath that gruff Philly exterior.