A couple of weeks ago, Alain Vigneault was asked about the challenges of leaving family and loved ones for what could be an extended period of time in the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament.
Before the NHL stoppage because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Flyers were on pace to finish with their best regular season in nine years. If Vigneault's club makes a run in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs following this unprecedented layoff, the team could be away for two-plus months.
Vigneault, quite frankly, was not asking for a sympathy card.
"This will be a time that people are going to remember for the rest of their lives," the Flyers' head coach said on July 14 during training camp. "I don’t feel that anyone in our situation right now has any right to complain about anything, really. Obviously we’re going to miss the people that are close to us — our families, our parents, etc. — but we’re getting an opportunity here to compete for the Stanley Cup, we’ve got the best facilities and the best people taking care of us. And if you look at what’s going on in the world right now where people are losing their jobs, losing their businesses, going from paycheck to paycheck, we’re one of the lucky ones. We’re playing a sport that we all love."
And the Flyers definitely have the support from their fans, families and loved ones as they got underway this week in the Eastern Conference's hub city Toronto.
Per the Flyers' official Twitter account, back at the team's hotel, a picture collage was put together featuring family pictures with players and members of the organization.
A little piece of Philly was waiting for us back at the hotel following tonight’s win. 🧡🖤 pic.twitter.com/WUWjSsBnuS— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) July 29, 2020
"It was really cool to see ... I got a chuckle seeing my two kids in the canoe in the backyard."— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) July 29, 2020
- Matt Niskanen on Flyers' picture collage at hotel pic.twitter.com/7zCLe6B8fQ
There have also been signs cheering on the Flyers in Philly and Toronto (Gritty must be behind it all).
Somehow, he finds a way. Gritty bought a billboard in Toronto.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) July 28, 2020
(📷 by Steve Dormer/Flyers) pic.twitter.com/BGI9weDE7H
Fans enjoyed the exhibition game Tuesday as the Flyers were back in action for the first time in 140 days.
The real deal starts Sunday.
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