Flyers

Watch: Gritty's birthday stroll through Philly finishes with a run up the Rocky steps

Watch: Gritty's birthday stroll through Philly finishes with a run up the Rocky steps

In celebration of his first birthday on Tuesday, Gritty took a stroll through the streets of Philadelphia with a string of balloons tied to his back and a birthday hat on top of his helmet.

The big orange fella started at the Delaware River and walked the streets through City Hall, over a couple of water fountains, through Love Park, and down the Ben Franklin Parkway to the Museum of Art, where he ran up what he called “Dr. Balboa’s steps.”

Gritty is not one to follow rules, so he didn’t exactly stop for traffic. More like traffic stopped for him.

There were plenty of selfies, high fives, and Gritty even took a moment to admire the heck out of one random guy’s beard.

Perhaps the only real hijinx came when Gritty “borrowed” a stroller with a kid in it. Thankfully, he didn’t get far.

So, uh, happy birthday, Gritty. Nice of you to celebrate with your people.

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Don't like the Phillie Phanatic's new look? Gritty has a message for you

Don't like the Phillie Phanatic's new look? Gritty has a message for you

When Gritty and the Phillie Phanatic met in September 2018 at Citizens Bank Park, a special bond was born.

With his best friend from across the street under the microscope for his new look, Gritty stepped up Tuesday night in defense of the Phanatic.

During the first period of the Flyers-Sharks game at the Wells Fargo Center, Gritty had a message for anyone out there not in support of the Phanatic's fresh style.

This is what best friends do.

Good for Gritty. The Phanatic would do the same for the orange fella.

Both will be reunited at the ballyard soon.

Look out.

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Get to know Justin Kowalkoski, the Flyers' emergency goaltender

Get to know Justin Kowalkoski, the Flyers' emergency goaltender

By now, you've probably heard of Carolina Hurricanes goaltender David Ayres.

Ayres, a 42-year-old Zamboni driver, was forced into action last Saturday as an emergency goaltender when the Hurricanes' top two goalies couldn't play because of injury. 

He became the oldest goaltender in NHL history to win his regular-season debut.

Every NHL team has an emergency backup.

For the Flyers, it's Justin Kowalkoski.

Kowalkoski graduated from Colgate University in 2008 and made six career starts for the Raiders.

The 33-year-old — a native of Young America, Minnesota — earned a degree in geology and works for an environmental consulting firm in New Jersey. He comes from his day job right to the Wells Fargo Center.

Emergency goaltenders are usually kept in a designated area inside the arena in case their services are needed.

Kowalkoski has never been forced into action yet.

Get to know Kowalkoski in the interview above by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Taryn Hatcher.

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