Record crowd turns out for first Flyers practice

The Flyers work out in front of an overflow crowd at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees during their first official practice since the lockout ended. The crowd was estimated at 3,000 and several fans waited in the lobby until seats were available. D4.
The Flyers work out in front of an overflow crowd at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees during their first official practice since the lockout ended. The crowd was estimated at 3,000 and several fans waited in the lobby until seats were available. D4. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 14, 2013

The crowd was bigger than the numbers for any of the practices during the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010.

It was bigger, in fact, than any that have ever attended one of the team's practices at the Voorhees Skate Zone since it opened in 2000.

"I'm overwhelmed," said Peter Luukko, president of the Flyers' parent company, Comcast-Spectacor.

Flyers fans apparently have put the 113-day NHL lockout behind them. Quickly.

The crowd was estimated at 3,000, and it was so large that several hundred fans - by order of the fire marshal - were not allowed into the seating area and had to wait in the lobby. Fans were permitted to enter the arena to sit or stand when someone left.

It was the first day of a mini-training camp, and the Flyers' first official practice since the lockout ended. The season starts Saturday.

"The fans want to see them playing; they don't want to see us on the business page and worry about labor disputes," Luukko said. "I think what it says today is that it's time to move forward, it's time to get playing and move on with the season."

Mallory Goldstein, a Cherry Hill resident who attended practice, noted that Philadelphia's other sports teams have not had banner seasons.

"The Flyers are all we have left," she said.

As a way of rewarding fans for their loyalty, the team will hold a 6 p.m. practice Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center that is free and open to the public. A ticket will be needed to enter the building, and information is available on the team's website:

flyers.nhl.com.

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