OCEAN CITY — There was plenty of fun and games for the kids as the Philadelphia Flyers brought their Community Caravan Tour to the outside playground at the Ocean City Sports & Civic Center on Thursday. Admission was free.

Several types of non-competitive games for children were set up on the basketball courts, such as hockey-themed games, skee ball with bean bags, and ball-tossing into buckets. Most of the children playing seemed to be under 10, though a few were older.

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The kids and their parents got to meet and take pictures with four Flyers legends, Bernie Parent, Bob Kelly, Paul Holmgren and Larry Goodenough. The four sat at a tent and people waited in line to meet the former stars and get autographs.

Parent’s whose goaltending led the Flyers to Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975, wore one championship ring on each hand.

Holmgren, the president of the Flyers, is a former star team player, coach and general manager.

“Our Community Caravan had a great turnout the last three days (including Tuesday in North Wildwood and Wednesday in Sea Isle City), and today was the biggest one,” Holmgren said. “Many of our fans are here for the summer and we get great support from the seashore people too. We have a very loyal fan base, and it’s nice to get out and give back.”

Goodenough scored a goal in one of the greatest games in Flyers history, a 4-1 victory over the mighty Soviet Central Red Army on January 11, 1976, at the Spectrum. Since the Central Red Army was considered the USSR’s greatest team and the Flyers were defending Stanley Cup champions, some called the game the unofficial world championship.

“I was lucky enough to share the ice surface with such great teammates,” said Goodenough, who was affectionately known as Izzy. “Our guys look different now, but we’re still the same. We were a blue-collar team representing a blue-collar town. We loved it then, and we do now.”

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Anne Lewis, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, husband, Dave, and son, Jake, happened to see the festival taking place and came by to join the fun.

“I heard they were in Sea Isle and we were just walking by and saw the Flyers sign,” Anne Lewis said. “I’ve been a Flyers fan all my life. I grew up in Philly, and I remember watching the (Stanley Cup) parade.”

The most popular game for the kids was the “hardest shot,” and it was only slightly competitive. Kids, many of them under 7, took turns hitting a street hockey ball into a net. A radar gun timed their shots. The contest had two divisions, 13-and-older and 12-and-under. Announcer Shawny Hill kept things moving smoothly.

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Event coordinators were Rob Baer and Jason Tempesta.

“We give out a free (Flyers Community Caravan) hat to everyone here, and we might give out about 1,500 today,” said Baer, of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. “We had 12 events last year and we’ll have 15 this summer, including Somers Point in August.”

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Contact: 609-272-7210 GGargan@pressofac.com

I’ve been at The Press since January of 1983. I cover all sports in general, but mostly lifeguard racing, and high school field hockey, football, swimming, basketball, crew, baseball and softball.

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