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Wayne Simmonds signs 1-day contract to retire with Philadelphia Flyers; honored on ice April 13

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Wayne Simmonds, the tough, physical winger who scored 203 goals over eight seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, is back in the City of Brotherly Love this weekend to finish his career with the orange and black.

Simmonds, 35, announced his intent last month to sign a one-day contract and retire as a Flyer — and on Friday, April 12, the Flyers shared a video of his return to the team accompanied by wife Crystal and their three children.

Simmonds sits at the head of a conference room table with his one-day contract in front of him - flanked by his family, President of Hockey Operations Keith Jones and General Manager Daniel Briere.

"Well I want to say, this is probably the easiest negotiation I could make," Briere says in the video, as Simmonds bursts out laughing. "But congrats, it's really an honor for the Flyers organization to have you back to finish your career officially with us. That's where you belong. So congrats to you and your family. "

"Thank you, wouldn't have it any other way," Simmonds says in the video. "Thank you guys. This is awesome. I'm so pumped."

Then, after a beat: "I'm officially a Flyer again."

Devils Flyers Hockey
Former Philadelphia Flyers' Wayne Simmonds, center, hugs Sean Couturier (14) after dropping a ceremonial first puck with New Jersey Devils' Nico Hischier (13) before an NHL hockey game, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Philadelphia. Derik Hamilton / AP

Simmonds was honored on ice at the Wells Fargo Center when the Flyers faced the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, April 13.

Known to be a pain in the Flyers' division rivals' sides, faces, shoulders and other parts, Simmonds was a strong and frequent presence in front of the net.

"Simmonds' blend of physicality and skill endured him to Flyers fans," CBS Philadelphia reported in March. "He was never shy to throw his weight around, stand up for his teammates, or score greasy goals."  

Simmonds is also a founding member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, founded in 2020 with a mission "to eradicate racism and intolerance in the sport" and promote inclusivity and diversity in the game.

In 2017, Simmonds represented the Flyers in the NHL All-Star Game and scored a hat trick. He became the first Black player to win an All-Star Game MVP since 1986, when the Edmonton Oilers' Grant Fuhr made a perfect 15/15 saves to secure a Campbell Conference win over the Prince of Wales Conference.

He finished his career having played 1,037 regular season NHL games for Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Nashville, New Jersey, Buffalo and Toronto, playing 584 with the Flyers between 2011-12 and 2018-19.

The Flyers acquired Simmonds from the Kings in the 2011 summer blockbuster deal that sent Mike Richards to Los Angeles and Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He went on to score 20 or more goals in six of his eight seasons in Philadelphia, with a career-high 32 in 2015-16.

In October 2019 he spoke about the Philadelphia fanbase.

"They just want someone to come to the rink and put an honest effort in every single night," Simmonds said. "Somebody who's going to battle through and through, whether you're up or you're down. I think that's why I got the love of the fans here. I came to the rink every day and handled my business and did everything in a professional manner. I got adopted by the fans. It was nice."

In late March, Philadelphia City Council honored Simmonds with a resolution and declared "may his hard-working and industrious spirit continue to inspire young athletes and professionals alike."

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