During his six years with the Philadelphia Flyers, Danny Briere became a beloved figure in the community for his exploits on and off the ice.

The center may no longer wear the orange and black, following his buyout and subsequent signing with the Montreal Canadiens, but he still calls South Jersey home - and he plans to keep it that way.

On July 25, Briere gave back to his adopted community as a featured guest at the Jewish Community Center's Sports Night fundraiser, saying he never misses an opportunity to pitch in for a good cause.

"I wanted a chance to help out with the community," said Briere, who has a home in Longport. "Even though I'm not with the Flyers, I'm still part of it."

Briere was joined at the event by Comcast SportsNet on-air personality Michael Barkann as well as members of the Philadelphia 76ers dance team.

This was the third year for the event, which previously welcomed former Philadelphia Eagle Jon Dorenbos, former Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and others as guests.

Proceeds from the event went to benefit the JCC Kids Fund, which supports the organization's efforts to help underprivileged children in the area regardless of religion.

Jeff Herskowitz, who co-chairs the event with his father, Hank, said the event is invaluable in helping the Milton and Betty Katz JCC fund its efforts to help the community.

"Each year, it keeps on getting better," Herskowitz said. "Each year, we hope to make a greater impact on Atlantic County for seniors and kids."

In addition to talks by Briere, Barkann and others, the event included a tailgate-style buffet, video horse races and a silent auction, which featured a Vespa scooter and signed sports memorabilia among its prizes.

Prior to their talks, Briere and Barkann met with attendees, conversing and signing autographs.

JCC Board President Eric Goldstein spoke at length with Briere prior to the event, finding him to be humble and down-to-earth.

"(Hockey players) seem to give back to the community more than any athletes I've ever seen," Goldstein said. "I got here early, and him and I were just talking hockey like two buddies sitting on a couch for 10 minutes. It was awesome. No attitude at all."

Briere often visits his home in Longport and is well known locally. He was personally invited to attend the event by Herskowitz, whom he calls a friend.

The cause is dear to Briere, who operates a foundation under his name in Canada dedicated to helping disadvantaged children. He said he was glad to get a chance to assist another organization dedicated to the same mission.

"It kind of helps everybody. Again, it touches the kids a lot," Briere said. "That's always been an area for me that's been important, that I want to help out with."

Contact Braden Campbell:

609-272-7415