Ice hockey returns to Boardwalk Hall with a charity game featuring former NHL players Sunday.
More than a dozen former Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils players will compete along with firefighters from throughout the Delaware Valley in the Red Line Classic at 3 p.m.
The Red Line Classic: Battle of the Boards is an annual event that raises funds for All Hands Working, a nonprofit organization that provides firefighters with fitness equipment grants, health and nutritional resources and survival training.
"Our charity is all about health and fitness," Joe Gordon, president of All Hands Working, said in a phone interview Thursday. "We try to gear our events toward getting out and being active and having the guys get on the ice and skate."
At 11 a.m., The Bronx FDNY team will take on The Philly Fire All Hands Working team. The Atlantic City Police & Fire team will play Philly Police at 12:30 p.m.
The mid-afternoon main event will feature players such as Bob "The Hound" Kelly, Brian Boucher, Mark Recchi, Rick Tocchet, Mark Howe, Jim Dowd and Ken Daneyko.
Last year, the firefighters played the Flyers alumni. Afterward, Gordon learned from those involved that it would have been more special to play with the NHL alumni and not against them.
The addition this year of of Devils alumni balances out the teams and will give the firefighters a chance to play with some the former pros.
"I contacted the Devils and said, 'Hey, would you be willing to skate against the Flyers alumni with firefighters competing with you?' And they liked the idea, Comcast liked the idea, Boardwalk Hall thought it was great," Gordon said. "And it gives the guys an opportunity to actually get out on the ice and pass the puck to 'The Hound' or pass the puck to Joe Watson."
Kelly, who won two Stanley Cups as a member of the Flyers from 1970-80, is considered, along with Dave Schultz, as one of the most famous enforcers in Flyers history.
Kelly is now one of the Flyers' many Ambassadors of Hockey, and devotes his time to visiting schools and being a public figure as well as interacting with fans on the concourse of the Wells Fargo Center during Flyers home games.
"A lot of us still there enjoy doing it," Kelly said on the phone Thursday. "And we have Todd Fedoruk on board here now, so hopefully he will carry the torch and continue."
Fedoruk isn't the only guy who is new to the alumni status. Boucher, who played in three stints with the Flyers, including a memorable Stanley Cup run in 2010, joined the roster for the event.
Boucher said in a phone conversation Thursday he is still getting used to retirement, but like the others who get involved in these events, he enjoys the interaction with Flyers fans. He also added it will fun getting back on the ice for the first time in a few months.
"We have such a passionate fan base here in Philadelphia," Boucher said. "I'm proud to say I was a Flyer, and I think the fans have always been great to me, and I'm very appreciative of that.
"Every time I get to meet them and be around them it's fun. Every time things like this come about and the fans get a chance to support something they're always there. I think that speaks to how much they love hockey here."
Boucher retired from hockey last October after a short stint in Switzerland. The Woonsocket, R.I., native is now dabbling in broadcasting, having called a Penn State game at the Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 26. He will call some Adirondack Phantoms games in the future.
"Obviously it's a different approach to the game, but it was fun," Boucher said. "It was fun doing that college game and hopefully I wasn't too brutal at it."
Fans at Boardwalk Hall won't just get to see former Flyers. Seeing former Devils players such as Bruce Driver and three-time Stanley Cup champion Daneyko will appeal to Devils fans in South Jersey.
"There's some good people on that other side coming down too with history of playing in the National Hockey League representative of their teams and community as well," Kelly said.
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