Quick Hits: September 14, 2021
1) On-ice work at the Flyers 2021 Rookie Camp will begin on Thursday of this week and continue on Friday. Over the weekend, the Flyers Rookie will play back-to-back games against the New York Rangers prospects, with a game at the MSG Training Center on Saturday and a rematch at the Skate Zone in Voorhees on Sunday. No fans will be admitted to the building during Rookie Camp.
2) The Flyers NHL camp will get underway next week with on-ice drills starting on Sept. 23. Fans will be admitted to the Skate Zone during NHL camp but masks are required at all times on the premises. It is possible that additional requirements, such as presenting CDC vaccination cards or a negative COVID test, might be part of the admission requirements but Flyers general manager and president of hockey operations Chuck Fletcher said the latter details are still being worked out.
3) A Rookie Camp preview article will go live later today on the Flyers official website. Tomorrow, the website will run down some of the key points raised by Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr during a pre-camp press conference that was held earlier today. Additionally. on the Prospect Pipeline podcast on the Flyers Broadcast Network, Brian Smith and I will run down some of the storylines to follow during camp including the back-to-back Rookie games against the Rangers' rookies.
5) Individual game tickets for the 2021-22 season will go on sale next week. Subscribers to the Flyers Wire newsletter will have access to a pre-sale. For more information, click here
5) Per Chuck Fletcher, the entire Flyers team will be fully vaccinated by the start of the season.
6) Sept 14 Flyers Alumn birthday: Orest Kindrachuk
Longtime Flyers third-line center Orest Kindrachuk was born September 14, 1950 in Nanton, Alberta and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He was the son of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada, and Ukrainian was the first language he spoke. As a youngster, he started skating at the age of three and took to hockey very quickly.
As he grew up, Kindrachuk initially planned to honor the sacrifices his parents made for him by becoming an optometrist rather than pursuing a hockey career. A bit undersized and a below-average skater, Kindrachuk did not believe he had a future in hockey.
Kindrachuk had a strong junior career for the Saskatoon Blades but went unselected in the 1970 NHL Draft. For one year, he enrolled at the University of Saskatchewan -- where he did not sign up for the college's hockey team. The aspiring eye doctor had to attend three labs per week and the team practiced every day, so hockey participation was out.
Unbeknownst to Kindrachuk at the time, the Flyers had interest in him. Based on a recommendation scout Jerry Melnyk and from a former Saskatchewan midget hockey on-ice rival and off-ice friend - Flyers prospect Don Saleski - Flyers general manager Keith Allen sent Philadelphia scouts to watch Kindrachuk during the 1970-71 season. He was signed to a free agent contract on July 1, 1971.
Kindrachuk still did not think he had much of a shot at an NHL career. He attended his first professional training camp fully expecting to be cut by the AHL's Richmond Robins, and then to return to college to work toward his degree. Instead, Kindrachuk wound up scoring 35 goals and 86 points to go along with 133 penalty minutes in 72 games during the 1972-73 season. He even dressed in two NHL games with the Flyers.
The next fall, Kindrachuk attended training camp with the Flyers. Before the first day of on-ice work, he approached Flyers head coach Fred Shero that he and his wife were unsure where to live during the camp and asked if Shero had any recommendations. Shero, who had never before spoken with Kindrachuk but knew full well who he was, looked at the rookie.
"If you've got any guts, kid, you'll rent an apartment in Philadelphia right away," said Shero.
Kindrachuk made the Flyers out of their 1972 camp, dressing in 71 regular season games and going to have a strong playoff run (five goals, nine points in 17 postseason tilts). He went on to become a very important role player on the Broad Street Bullies clubs of the mid-1970s.
A huge part of the success of the Shero-era Flyers lay in their work ethic and depth. Kindrachuk provided both in support of the team's top two centers, Bobby Clarke and Rick MacLeish. The Flyers' third-line center was very tough to play against -- a tireless worker along the boards, a fine defensive player, a pest who got under opponents' skin, and a player with very underrated hands who could produce supporting offense despite his significant lack of speed.
Kindrachuk was also one of the most extensively nicknamed players on a team full of players with colorful monitors. He never went by Orest among his teammates. Depending on the season and the whims of his fellow Flyers, he was variously known as O or Little O (in answer to basketball's Oscar "Big O" Robertson), Chicky or Chuckles (plays on Kindrachuk), Ernie (for the Sesame Street character with the shock of black hair atop his head) or, rarely, Walrus or Russ (for his thick mustache).
In his best NHL offensive season of 1975-76, Kindrachuk racked up 26 goals and 75 points in 76 games to go along with 101 penalty minutes. That year, his friend and linemate Saleski scored 21 goals; the first of three straight 20-plus goal seasons by "Big Bird").
After the 1977-78 season, the Flyers traded Kindrachuk, Tom Bladon and Ross Lonsberry to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for the sixth overall pick of the 1978 Draft. The Flyers used the pick to select defenseman Behn Wilson.
For his Flyers career, Kindrachuk played 360 regular season games, recording 260 points (79 goals including 11 power play goals and six shorthanded tallies, 181 assists), 465 penalty minutes and a cumulative plus-116 rating. He dressed in 69 Stanley Cup playoff contests, recording 16 goals, 19 assists, 35 points and 46 penalty minutes.
Kindrachuk retired in 1982 after stints with Pittsburgh and the Washington Capitals. His career finished with 508 NHL regular season games (118 goals, 261 assists, 379 points, 648 penalty minutes) and 76 playoff games (20 goals, 20 assists, 40 points, 53 penalty minutes) to his credit.
After retirement, Kindrachuk permanently remained in the Delaware Valley. He went into the insurance business and the packaging industry. He also dabbled part-time in hockey broadcasting, most notably as a color analyst for Philadelphia Phantoms telecasts. In 2012, as with many of mid-1970s Flyers teammates, Kindrachuk was naturalized as a United States citizen.