In a season where the Philadelphia Flyers fired Executive Vice President and general manager Ron Hextall, replaced head coach Dave Hakstol and tied a National Hockey League (NHL) record by using seven different goalies in a single season, their 2018/19 campaign can be described as anything but stellar.
Even in a dismal season, there is one consistent bright spot in Flyers' history. This year, the team hosted their 42nd annual Flyers' Wives Fight for Lives Carnival, its signature event of the season.
Most successful one-day charity event
The annual Flyers' Wives Fight for Lives Carnival is one of the oldest and most successful one-day charity events hosted by a professional sports franchise. This yearly tradition is a genuine fun-filled family friendly experience that creates a sense of excitement in the community.
Fans of all ages have the chance to meet their favorite Flyers' players, wives, coaches, management, staff, and beloved alumni while gathering autographs, taking photos, playing games on-and-off the ice and enjoying carnival-themed attractions throughout the day.
The first Flyers' Wives Carnival
The first Flyers' Wives Carnival was held on February 1, 1977, in support of one the Philadelphia Flyers’ players, defenseman Barry Ashbee, who was battling leukemia.
Sadly, Mr. Ashbee succumbed to his illness and later died that same year at the young age of 37-years-old. However, Barry’s brave fight was the foundation for what has become a truly heartfelt and inspirational focus to the Flyers' Wives Carnival.
Money raised for worthy non-profits
Since its inception, the Flyers' Charities, the organizing foundation behind the Carnival, has raised more than $27 million in support of a multitude of worthy non-profit organizations across the Greater Philadelphia Region.
They provide educational and recreational resources to underserved youth, engage in important medical and healthcare research and promote countless community investment initiatives to positively influence the community.
These organizations include Michael's Way, the Center for Autism, Snider Hockey, Liberty USO, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Mission Kids, PAWS, Ronald McDonald House of Philadelphia and Simon's Heart.
This year thousands of fans packed the Wells Fargo Center and proceeds from the Flyers' Wives Carnival supported childhood cancer and leukemia research.
Gritty's first carnival
On Monday, September 24, 2018, during the 2018/19 preseason campaign, the Flyers' introduced Gritty, a 7-foot fuzzy creature with a wild orange beard, googly eyes and a squeaky belly button, as the newest member of their organization.
Following his introduction, Gritty gained national status and has quickly become Philadelphia’s latest celebrity. This year marked his first Flyers' Wives Carnival appearance.
Gritty made sure to hit all the popular spots at the event and kept folks in a festive mood, including:
Autograph & photograph booths
On a first come, first serve basis fans had the opportunity to sign-up to meet and greet with their favorite Flyers' player and pose with them for a photograph and receive an autograph!
In true Carnival fashion, fair-style games were showcased throughout the event for all ages. The games included darts, water fun game, ping pong popper game and cork gun game among other fun games.
The arena floor featured a six-story-high Ferris wheel along with a full-size carousel.
Locker room tour
A brand-new attraction offered for 2018, provided fans with behind the scenes access to the Flyers' locker room! Carnival attendees had the option to purchase tickets in advance to enjoy a 15-minute tour inside the team's game-night dressing room.
Shot on goal
Imagine being on the Flyers' ice and taking the game-winning shot! Fans got to experience how it feels to be a Flyer and the experience was worth every shot!
Givesmart: bid on player baskets
Fans had the opportunity to participate in a live auction and could bid on Flyers' 'Player Favorite Things Baskets', Flyers' memorabilia, autographed items, concerts and more.
Fans could also step outside the venue and enjoy a brand-new outdoor obstacle zone. This fun-filled setup included inflatable obstacle courses and games for all ages.
Contact Philadelphia Flyers Charities
For more information about the Flyers' Wives Fight for Lives Carnival, please visit FlyersCharities.com.
What do you think of the Philadelphia Flyers' Wives Fight for Lives Carnival? Let us know in the comment section below, and make sure to give us a follow on Twitter (@VAVELNHL_ENG) for more updates!