'They're the heroes of this country': Flyers host clinic for members of the Air Force

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Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds (second from left) and Brian Elliott (far right) pose with some Air Force members on Monday. Elliott’s wife, Amanda, once served in the Air Force.

After their practice Monday in Voorhees, the Flyers hosted 12 members of the Air Force during a hockey clinic that was held in advance of Saturday’s Military Appreciation Night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Wingers Wayne Simmonds and Taylor Leier, and goalie Brian Elliott, whose wife used to serve in the military, were among the Flyers who worked with the servicemen and servicewomen. The military members also received guidance from former Flyers Brad Marsh and Bob Kelly.

“They’re the heroes of this country,” Leier said. “The respect they have is phenomenal, and they deserve all they get. On days like today, we can share our experiences with them and they kind of get to see how we live our lives day to day and things we get to do.”

The Air Force members are based out of McGuire/Ft. Dix in Lakehurst, N.J., and they will attend Saturday’s game against Minnesota as guests of Simmonds, who regularly hosts military members in his suite as part of his “Wayne’s Warriors” initiative.

“It’s always cool to meet those guys and talk to them,” Simmonds said. “Some of those guys are going off to training soon, and it’s always nice to get them out to a game if we can.”

There was one mini-casualty. Flyers public-relations director Zack Hill was on the ice and accidentally got hit in the ankle by an Air Force shot.

“Lower-body injury,” Hill cracked before icing down his swollen foot.