On the ice, Ryan Frain doesn’t look too far removed from his playing days.
Of course, the former Temple ice hockey standout and all-time leading scorer would disagree after skating with his fellow former Owls in the annual Temple ice hockey alumni game against the Philadelphia Flyers alumni squad on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Northeast SkateZone.
“When I got off the ice a lot of the guys were ragging on me a little bit,” Frain said. “The skill level has dropped a tad since I haven’t been on the ice competitively for about two years now. I’m just doing what I can out there.”
Though Frain laughed off his individual performance, the former player-turned-assistant coach talked highly of an event deemed largely successful after three years of raising money for the squad, while also garnering some bonus publicity.
“We put a lot of time and effort into this,” Frain said. “I know [Coach Jerry Roberts] worked his rear off to make this event a success and it’s nice to get the alumni out here again and raise some money here for the club. That’s the name of the game.”
“Bringing these guys back at any age is pretty cool,” Frain added. “Some of the older guys who were here remember the games that I played in and they remember you, and it’s pretty nice to have a relationship built between the older alumni and the younger alumni.”
The alumni event featured a roster of Temple ice hockey alumni in a full 60-minute game against a select group of Philadelphia Flyers alumni. It raised money through the standard $3 admission price, but also via a Flyers raffle that included prizes such as Flyers regular season tickets and a puck signed by Flyers forward Sean Couturier.
“Especially for a game [against Monmouth University] that we normally wouldn’t have a lot of people at, it was good that we were able to get a lot of new people out here,” Roberts said. “Hopefully they liked what they saw and they’ll keep coming out for more.”
Though the fundraising and publicity are positives for the club, the biggest bonus of the event lies in its way of keeping former Owls in touch with the program and its current members, Roberts said.
“Our primary goal is we’re trying to promote alumni involvement and keep guys involved,” Roberts said. “It was effective in that we got the alumni on the ice and to see the current team and keep them involved with the program.”
The option of sharing the same ice with a few marquee names of Flyers past didn’t hurt for some of the Temple alumni, as the Flyers side featured classic names such as one of the key cogs in the 1970s “Broad Street Bullies” era in Bob Kelly (1970-80).
Other notable Flyers alumni included Joe Watson (1967-78), Brian Propp (1979-89), Dan McGillis (1997-2002), Todd Fedoruk (2000-04, 2006-07), and goalie Neil Little, who played two games for the Flyers amid playing much of his professional career with the Philadelphia Phantoms, the Flyers’ American Hockey League affiliate.
The game was one of several annual cameos taken on by the Flyers alumni squad in the efforts to raise money for several various charities around the Delaware Valley.
“We do about 10-12 games a year and we raise close to $100,000 per year for charity,” Kelly said. “We do different events for autism, breast cancer, juvenile diabetes and whatever the charity is somebody wants us to play for, that’s what we do. We don’t pick them, we just help them raise money by helping out with what we do.”
“Nobody wants to be an alumnus, but this is fun,” Kelly added. “Temple’s a great school for kids to go to. We’ve played other schools too and it’s great to interact with them. We’ve played teams like University of Delaware and others, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Andrew Parent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @daParent93.