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Wayne Simmonds announces retirement, Flyers to honor him April 13

Wayne Simmonds, a beloved former Flyer who personified the city’s toughness and loyalty, will be honored by the organization April 13 before the team’s game against the Devils.

The 35-year-old power forward officially announced his retirement Monday. He’ll sign a one-day contract with the Flyers and be saluted at the Wells Fargo Center.

Philadelphia has always had a special place in my heart,” Simmonds said in a Zoom press conference. “It has been unbelievable to me. Philly’s a blue-collar town and I think that’s kind of what I brought in my game. I think that’s what made myself endeared to the fans and I loved every second of it. It was amazing, my time in Philly.”

Simmonds scored 203 goals in parts of eight seasons with the Flyers and quickly became a fan favorite. He played in 30 playoff games for the Flyers and was the 2017 All-Star Game MVP.

Following his back-to-back 30-plus-goal seasons, Simmonds’ body went through hell in 2017-18. He left it all out there as a Flyer.

“Every ounce, every tear, every piece of sweat, all the blood, all the teeth that I don’t have,” Simmonds said with a smile. “It was just something that I was willing to do, whatever I could possibly do to try to win. Obviously that didn’t happen in Philly but I always meant every single thing that I did.

“I got so much love from the fans there, it was just important to me that I did give it my all. … I gave everything I had to Philadelphia. It kind of cut my career short, but I wouldn’t change it one bit.”

As a pending unrestricted free agent, he was dealt to the Predators in 2018-19 at the trade deadline. After finishing the season with Nashville, he played his final four years for the Devils, Sabres and Maple Leafs.

In October 2019, when Simmonds first returned to Philadelphia as a visiting player with New Jersey, he received a roaring ovation and was then booed (which he wanted).

“It was funny, the amount of cheers I got, it kind of was mind-blowing when I was there,” Simmonds said. “It was nice to be booed by the Philly faithful coming in on the road team, especially as a Devil. People probably didn’t like that too much.”

Simmonds came to the Flyers in the June 2011 trade that sent former captain Mike Richards to the Kings. Simmonds was only 22 years old. Now, he and his wife Crystal have two daughters and a baby boy.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back on April 13 and just enjoying the love that I always get from Philadelphia,” Simmonds said. “It’s going to be a special day, I get to bring my family with me. My kids know absolutely nothing of me being a Flyer. I show them my hockey cards, my daughters just think I was a Leaf my whole career. It’s going to be special for me to actually show them where I’m a product of, so I’m very excited for that.”

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