Gostisbehere: 'Philly, it's a tough city, but they definitely love you'


Shayne Gostisbehere had known only Philadelphia as home for his professional hockey career.

He was drafted by the Flyers in 2012 as a 19-year-old third-round pick, made his NHL debut with the team in October 2014 and played six full seasons in Philly.

For the first time ever, his NHL home changed when he was traded to the Coyotes in late July a little over two weeks before his wedding day.

"A lot of things going on but all those things worked out," Gostisbehere said. "I'm very grateful."

On Tuesday night, he was back at the Wells Fargo Center. A few hours before puck drop between his former teammates and Arizona, he walked past the Flyers' dressing room and down the hallway to the visiting area. He hadn't made that walk since he won the national championship at the Wells Fargo Center as a junior with Union College in 2014.

"It was definitely weird coming into this building on the other side," Gostisbehere said before the Flyers beat the Coyotes that night, 3-0.

The 28-year-old has moved on to his next chapter in Arizona, but his Philadelphia roots will remain. He made tracks on and off the ice. With the Flyers, Gostisbehere stormed onto the scene his 2015-16 rookie year, finishing as the Calder Trophy runner-up. He darted along the blue line with 17 goals and 46 points in 64 games, helping push the Flyers into the playoffs on the second-to-last day of the regular season.


"It was a great time," Claude Giroux said Monday. "I remember when he got called up, we started playing power play together and 5-on-5. Just seeing the way he plays, the way he was able to shoot the puck. He had some big goals."

In 2017-18, Gostisbehere put up a career-high 65 points, the fourth most among NHL defensemen that season. Among Flyers defensemen in franchise history, Gostisbehere holds the third-most game-winning goals (11), fourth-most goals (60) and fifth-most points (219).

"Rookie year, scored my first NHL goal in this building, won a national title in this building," Gostisbehere said of his best memories in Philadelphia. "This building's definitely special to me, for sure."

Off the ice, Gostisbehere and his wife Gina were highly involved with the Pennsylvania SPCA. Gostisbehere will be passing on the SPCA mantle to Ivan Provorov and his girlfriend Madison. Gostisbehere and Provorov visited the SPCA on Monday.

"We went over there, saw the dogs and just told them if they need anything, we're still here," Gostisbehere said. "It was pretty cool."

Provorov was excited to follow up on Gostisbehere's deed.

"My girlfriend and I got a dog in May, so we've been spending a lot of time with him," Provorov said Wednesday. "Overall, it's a great cause and something we can do to help those animals. I think that's a great cause."

Provorov and his girlfriend have a golden retriever named Drake.

"He's awesome, honestly," Provorov said. "From Day 1, he's been super chill. Has tons of character. When it's time to play, he plays. When it's time to chill, he just lays with you on the couch, enjoys spending time with us and we enjoy spending time with him."

For Gostisbehere and his wife, they'll miss being closely involved.

"It's little things that you get put into a community for so long, you do anything you can to help," he said. "Dogs are a big part of my life and my wife's life. We wanted to do anything we could to give back. The SPCA has been awesome, partnering with them and doing different events and anything we can do to help them. It's been awesome."

Gina is a nurse at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She's studying to become a nurse practitioner.

"She's going to school to further her career," Gostisbehere said. "She's visited a couple of times, that's been awesome."

She was at the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night, welcoming Gostisbehere back. This time, she was watching her husband in a Coyotes jersey as he made the trip home as a visitor.

"My wife's going to be at the game, friends and family saying they're coming just to see me," Gostisbehere said with a smile beforehand. "It's definitely special. Philly, it's a tough city, but they definitely love you."

Subscribe to and rate Flyers Talk

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube