Briere Excited for Alumni Game
When Team Orange and Team White face off in the Flyers Alumni Game at Santander Arena in Reading on Friday, virtually the entire history of the Philadelphia Flyers will be represented in one way or another on the ice and/or on the benches, from 1967 to 2015 and every era in between.
The two most recently retired Alumni playing in the game are Team Orange forward Danny Briere and Kimmo Timonen both joined the Flyers during the offseason of 2007 and, after finishing their active careers with short stints elsewhere, retired from the NHL after the 2014-15 season.
"The best thing about when you retire, the next big games for you are the Alumni games," Briere said.
"That's where I am now. This is going to be a big one for everyone when you look at who is going to be there -- even Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, Paul Holmgren, and guys are coming back to the area for this game. That's what's going to be so cool about it."
Although he played for five NHL organizations and still cherishes his breakthrough years with the Buffalo Sabres, Briere became first and foremost a Flyer at heart. Like so many Alumni before him, he has made the Delaware Valley his home, raised his children here and feels connected to the community as well as to the Flyers organization itself.
"The Flyers are an organization that has so much tradition and pride. There's an identity. When you play here, you can feel that. The fans can feel that. It's a special thing," Briere said.
Briere has enjoyed his retirement as an active NHL player, and has not had any regrets about the decision.
"I don't really miss playing the game.I like having time to be with the kids, to be at the rink with them. I like what I am doing now part-time [working under Homer [Flyers team president Paul Holmgren] with the Flyers. I also like to be able to watch a game on TV and keep up with the whole league," Briere said.
However, there is one thing Briere and most former retired players miss: the atmosphere of being on a team a part of the dressing room enviroment, particularly with the team with as strong of a cultural identity as the Flyers.
"What you miss when you retire is the cameraderie with the guys in the room. It's going to be great to be out there with guys I know and it's also going to be pretty cool to meet some of the Alumni guys that I haven't met yet," Briere said.
"One of the guys I'm excited to see again is [Team White goaltender] Robert Esche. I was teammates with him in Phoenix but we missed each other here. He left the Flyers organization shortly before I came in. Eschy has done really well for himself after hockey, too, with his [American Hockey League] team in Utica. It will be fun to catch up."