Gettin’ Gritty

Text and photos by Sage Hurley

The Philadelphia Flyers Community Caravan is a multi-stop clinic and family-fun initiative created to grow the sport of hockey and support active lifestyles for youth throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area.

The caravan has seven stops this summer, and at each stop there will be an inflatable rink, tailgate games, a bungee run, activities for all ages to participate in, and more.

Ian Dumas and Sam Webb

One of the stops of this fun-filled caravan was our very own Ocean City, New Jersey. On July 10 from 11am to 1pm, vacationers and locals alike enjoyed celebrating hockey and meeting iconic members of the flyers franchise, including the Flyers alumni, Ice Girls, and the team’s iconic crazy-eyed mascot, Gritty, in the beautiful summer weather.

A high-five from Gritty is enough to make your whole summer

The event was hosted on the basketball courts next to Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, and as excited attendees entered the gate, they were immediately surrounded by all Flyers everything. Kids were running around with hockey sticks playing in the street hockey rink, trying out the bungee run game, and spinning a Flyers wheel for prizes.       

Morning Sports Camp is one of the most popular Ocean City day camps, and it worked perfectly that this week is street hockey week. The camp counselors brought all the excited campers to the event, and let them have free reign to run around and experience all the Flyers caravan had to offer.

Morning Sports Counselors Stephen Hollander and Sammi Dabbundow

“It’s a fun event for the campers. It’s street hockey week, so it goes really well with what the kids are doing at camp. It’s something out of the ordinary for us to take them to do,” said morning sports camp counselor Stephen Hollander.

Many of the campers showed off the skills they learned this week at camp in the street hockey rink.

“There was so much excitement and anticipation from the kids because it’s something we bring them to every year. They love it,” said counselor Marco Guarnere.

            Other campers decided to try to win as many cool Flyers-themed prizes as possible.

Marco Guarnere and campers

            “There’s a lot of fun prizes like bobbleheads, shirts, wristbands, and more. I’ve been spinning the wheel all morning,” said one of the younger attendees Daniel Traficanti.

            During the event, there was a constant line to meet Flyers legends, retired players Bob Kelly, Doug Crossman, and Brad Marsh. After meeting the three players, kids, families, and camp counselors lined up and awaited an appearance from the one and only, Gritty.

            The bright Flyers-orange, furry ball of energy strutted into the event like he owned the place. He gave out countless high-fives, ran around, and made sure everyone know had arrived. His unmatchable presence caused the line of people waiting to get a picture with him to wrap around the entire area of basketball courts.

The Smith Family

            Beautiful weather, bright orange entertainment, Philadelphia sports legends, and Gritty himself made for an unforgettable event for all who attended.

Brinley Pannebaker

            Don’t worry if you missed out on the fun. The Flyers Community Caravan will be visiting other local towns this summer. Check out https://www.nhl.com/flyers/news/flyers-to-host-free-summer-long-community-caravan-tour/c-308206046 for more details.