Wells Fargo Center

Kevin Hayes wonders how possible empty arenas will impact red-hot Flyers' mojo

Kevin Hayes wonders how possible empty arenas will impact red-hot Flyers' mojo

Kevin Hayes isn't afraid to say it: the Flyers were on a roll before the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the NHL to suspend its season in mid-March.

It's not a stretch. After a nine-game win streak spanning nearly a month, the orange and black sat one point out of first in the Metropolitan Division, fourth overall in the Eastern Conference, and sixth in total points across the league. They'd quickly turned into one of the best teams in the NHL.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this week that he's not even considering cancelling the rest of the 2019-20 season.

From a purely hockey-focused standpoint, then, the pause's timing makes Flyers fans — and players — wonder if their momentum can be reclaimed if and when the NHL resumes its season.

During an appearance this week on the Spittin' Chiclets podcast, Hayes was asked the same question. It's clear he's thought about the topic — and what could get in the way: 

CHICLETS: You guys had some momentum. Going into the postseason, I imagine you guys would've clinched a playoff spot. Do you think you'll be able to get back in the swing of things with a couple-week training camp, and be able to kick it into high gear?

HAYES: I hope so. We have a great leadership group there. Guys have been there for a while, like Coots, Jake, and G. They run a great locker room. Obviously new, older guys came in this year like myself, Niskanen, Braun, Stewie, Pitlick, and even Moose is an older guy there. 

It's a fun team, to be honest. There's a lot of fun going on at the rink, and away from the rink, and we were really, really confident at the time. I would argue we were, I don't know — besides the Bruins, maybe the hottest team in the league? I hope that we can. I think we have the right leadership to get back, two weeks of training camp, to get the mojo back.

The thing that's — I don't know if scary's the right word — the thing that sucks is, playing in front of no fans is going to be really, really weird to kind of grasp.

Hayes calling the Flyers the second-hottest team in the league at the time of the league pause feels about right. The talent level, and the leadership level, is there.

But the question of how an empty Wells Fargo Center will affect the Flyers is a big one. The Flyers' 25-6-4 home record was the best in the league, no small feat.

When the Flyers are hot, Philadelphia is a place no opposing team wants to play, as we all saw during that win streak. The Flyers were suddenly the talk of the town, and a part of their home-ice advantage was directly attributable to the fans' intensity.

Hayes' confidence about the Flyers' season through 69 games, and his uncertainty about what comes next, both echo what Brian Boucher said earlier this week during an appearance on NBC Sports Philadelphia's Flyers Talk podcast:

The Flyers were really humming and you wonder what this team would have looked like heading into the playoffs in a normal scenario. I would think that teams would have been scared to play that team. I don’t know how it’s going to play when they come back.

If the NHL returns and heads directly to the postseason, it'll be very interesting to see if the Flyers' leaders can ramp the team back up into full momentum mode in time for a deep run.

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Flyers release update for fans with tickets to remaining 2019-20 home games

Flyers release update for fans with tickets to remaining 2019-20 home games

Among the Flyers' 13 games remaining on their 2019-20 schedule, six were slated to be played at the Wells Fargo Center over the course of March and April.

With the coronavirus outbreak forcing the NHL to suspend its season on March 12, the chances of those games being rescheduled and played are in jeopardy.

Fans who had purchased tickets to any of the final six home games will receive credit to apply toward future scheduled events or the option to request a refund, the Flyers announced Tuesday in an FAQ on the team's official website.

The team's release (which you can read here) addressed all fans who had held tickets for the remainder of 2019-20 — from season plans to single games, group tickets and those who purchased through the Flyers or a secondary website.

Prior to the stoppage, the Flyers were the NHL's top home team at 25-6-4 with a plus-53 goal differential and a league-best .771 points percentage.

Attendance had been growing steadily as the Flyers started climbing the standings. The team's largest attendance figure of the season came on Feb. 22, when the Flyers beat the Jets, 4-2, in front of 19,870 fans. On March 7, five days before the NHL suspended the season, the Flyers had their third-biggest attendance of 2019-20 with 19,781 for a 3-1 win over the Sabres. On March 10, in the team's final game prior to the hiatus, 19,689 fans marked the official listed attendance as the Flyers lost to the Bruins, 2-0.

Last week, Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault was staying optimistic about his team's situation and the potential of sports resuming.

"As far as feeling any sense of frustration because the season has been suspended and our climb to the top has been put on hold, I do not feel any frustration and I don't think I should or any of our players should," Vigneault said. "With what the world is going through, with what people are going through at this time, the challenges that are out there for society and individually for some businesses and people, there are a lot bigger things than hockey right now.

"There’s no doubt that we were playing our best hockey of the season at that time, but I don’t think we can go into this showing any signs of emotional frustration. With how the world has been put on pause and what people are going through right now, when we come back, we can help them by doing the best job that we can as far as playing on the ice."

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Sports photographer Alex McIntyre creates powerful social distancing message

Sports photographer Alex McIntyre creates powerful social distancing message

Not having sports for such a significant amount of time is something new for many fans. Beautiful weather in May often means enjoying a day at the ballpark with a Phillies game, hopping off Septa and walking to Wells Fargo Center for some Flyers and Sixers playoff action, and simply soaking up time with friends and family. 

Adapting to such things has been an ongoing process for us all since the second week of March — and with so much uncertainty and unknown — there’s a feeling of emptiness that used to be filled with sporting events. 

Photographer Alex McIntyre shot her last game before the sports world came to a halt on March 7 and has been missing the craft ever since. She wanted to come up with a concept that told a story and conveyed a message that would resonate with sports fans — and she did just that. 

After spending a significant amount of time drawing up ideas, she finally found the path she wanted to head down. With little details, she tweeted this message out to get others involved: 

Philly fans already loved the idea — sharing some of their favorite memories outside of the stadiums. Little did they know, they were about to be a part of telling a powerful message about social distancing during these difficult times. 

McIntyre collected the images that were shared and tracked down the locations — photographing the same exact spots, only barren. No games, no fans, no music, no joy … and placed the two side by side. The results became some of her finest work. 










Along with the photo set, she shared this message to her followers: 

There’s an infamous quote that reads, “Home is where the heart is.” For most sport-loving Philadelphians, “The heart,” sits at Broad and Pattinson: The Philadelphia Sports Complex. Given the current state of the world, something we hold so close has been put to a stop: sports. With this, an age-old, year-round tradition is prohibited thus leaving a void within us. However, working together is the only way to bring it back. 

Through sports, we gather and connect. We create life long friendships and relationship; we create memories that last a lifetime. However, no one’s life is guaranteed. By doing our part in this pandemic, we can try to preserve that for those at a higher risk. I wanted to create this to demonstrate some of our favorite memories and illustrate the void within us. Memories that we’d love to continue creating. I wanted to promote social distancing and show exactly what is missed if people continue to ignore CDC guidelines. 

So thank you again to those who submitted [their pictures]. Together, we create a community and we create memories. But together, we can also do our part to return to normalcy. Remember how you felt in each of your memories. Think about that day and the moment the photo was taken … How do these days differ? Think about your favorite times and the people you’ve met, adventures you’ve had, days you love to (or may not even slightly) remember. 

I urge your to put your passion for this city and these teams into following guidelines put forth for our safety as a whole. We are a family. We are friends. We are a community. We are Philly.

“The goal was to fuse my need to create combined with the emotions I was feeling,” McIntyre said. “Philly is full of heart, so pulling the emotional strings seemed like the best way to make them hear me.”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words — and somehow, while these tell such a strong message, we are left speechless at the same time. 

All images in this post are credited to Alex McIntyre, Aaron Talasnik, Colin Kerrigan and Philadelphia sports Twitter. You can view the complete set of photos here

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles