Introducing the Flyers Guy: Meet Hank

In case you don’t follow us on Twitter, which you can do here, us at The Morning Skate wanted to let our readers who’s behind the keyboard writing about their favorite teams. Ked and Disco already posted their intros, and now it’s my turn.

I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, about 30 minutes south of Philadelphia. We consider ourselves a suburb of Philly, so I was born into Philadelphia fandom, for better and for worse. I have been a die hard Flyers fan for as long as I can remember, and have been privileged to watch the most underrated player in the league, Claude Giroux, work his magic for just over a decade now. I live and die with the Flyers and own enough apparel to wear something different for two straight weeks.

My hockey playing story is one I would consider very unique. As I’m sure you can guess, Delaware isn’t exactly your hockey hotbed, so I didn’t get early exposure to it like my pals from upstate New York. My first hockey memory is watching the 2006 Stanley Cup Final between Edmonton and Carolina when I was nine. I was fixated on the game and my favorite player became Eric Staal, likely because he was over a PPG in the series and they wouldn’t stop talking about it given his age. After seeing that series, I asked my mom if I could start playing. The only reason I didn’t start then was because I found out about the 6 AM practices. That was reason enough for me to say no and it is, to this day, one of my life’s biggest regrets.

The catalyst for me falling head over heels in love with hockey was, oddly enough, the game NHL 10. I had only grabbed it because I heard good things about the game, but it led me down a path I never saw coming. The game made me want to start shooting on nets in my basement and driveway, as well as learn to skate. Believe me, I was awful at it but it was at least a start. Beginning in high school I thought it was time I begin playing organized hockey. For a variety of reasons far too long and complicated for this blog post, I got placed on a “club” team that represented a high school in the middle of Delaware. I played my first season at 15 years old, and I was completely hooked.

Over the next few years I became an absolute rink rat. I legitimately cared more about hockey than I did my social life. Any moment I wasn’t doing something I had to do, I was at the rink just trying to make up for the 10 or so years of experience everyone else had on me. Essentially, I was one of those nerds who would repost pictures on Facebook like “Eat, Sleep, Hockey, Repeat” or whatever. Eventually, it began to pay off as I started to see some first (read: second) line minutes, and was even on the power play as a Wayne Simmonds type (or so I’d like to think).

My college search completely depended on if I was going to be able to keep playing hockey. Obviously it was going to be at the club level, but as all of us know, club hockey is still college hockey. After hearing about their business/finance program and being promised a spot on the team, I continued my career at Muhlenberg College, a small liberal arts school in Allentown, PA. It was at Muhlenberg where I fully embraced my new found role of being a bottom six forward who was only good for chirping the other team and occasionally clearing the puck on the PK. Honestly though? That was incredibly fun to do and I really miss it.

Unfortunately, my college hockey career was cut short in between my sophomore and junior seasons. To make a VERY long story short, our coach was completely incompetent, the school’s AD was completely in the dark regarding the team’s state, and injuries/ineligibility caused us to have seven (yes, seven) skaters at the end of the year. Going through it at the time, it was nothing other than a shit show given the fact that we averaged 40 minutes of ice time a game. Looking back, though, it was an experience that was fun in the weirdest way possible. It was one of those bonding experiences between teammates that just really can’t be matched and I’d give anything for one more road trip.

Now that I’ve graduated college I work in Manhattan doing finance. Being a Philly guy in New York is treacherous, but I manage to survive. Despite having my competitive days behind me, my love for the game only continues to grow. I’m excited to get settled into the beer league life, and am very excited to be a part of something I believe can go somewhere like The Morning Skate. It sucks that the NHL season got put on hold right as I came on board, and it hurts even worse considering how good the Flyers are. Anyway, as soon as the season gets back underway, I’ll be right back covering the Flyers. In the meantime, all of us would love to hear what you’d like to see from us in terms of content. Seriously, nothing is off the table. Could Disco drop a Love Island blog soon? Who’s to say, really?

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