It was no secret that when Eric Lindros’ time as a Flyer ended, it was not on the greatest of terms. For the better part of the next decade, nothing had really been done to mend that relationship, but over the last eight years, things have come a long way and reached a new level this week.
The Flyers have named Lindros an official team ambassador. To start the partnership, Lindros joined the Flyers in participating in the ALL IN Challenge, an online fundraiser dedicated to raising money for COVID-19 hunger relief. As part of the partnership, Lindros will be in Philadelphia constantly for community events, fan appearances and corporate partner engagements, once the season is able to resume.
"Few players in Flyers history inspire as much excitement and passion among the fanbase as Eric Lindros, and during this unprecedented time, those positive feelings are exactly what we want to deliver to our fans," Valerie Camillo, President of Business Operations for the Flyers and Wells Fargo Center, said in a press release. "This ambassadorship with Eric has been in the works for quite some time, and we made the decision to kick it off right now, not only as a special engagement for our fans, but even more importantly, as an integral way to assist those impacted by COVID-19."
"I look forward to being back with my Flyers family and kicking things off in a way that makes a positive impact during a time of need," Lindros said in a press release. "Philadelphia has always been my home away from home and I'm eager to continue connecting with and giving back to the passionate Flyers fan base that has treated me so well over the past two decades."
Back in the 1999-2000 season, Lindros suffered a concussion in March, his second of the season and fourth of his career and was heavily critical of the Flyers training and medical staff at that time. As tension mounted, then-Flyers GM Bobby Clarke stripped Lindros of the captaincy as Lindros spent the rest of the regular season and most of the playoffs recovering. He returned for the final two games of the Flyers playoff run, suffering another concussion in the Game 7 loss to the Devils in the Eastern Conference Final.
Lindros was then a restricted free agent and refused to sign a qualifying offer with the Flyers. When he was cleared to play again in December, the team refused to trade his rights to his hometown team of Toronto. Lindros did not play for the entire 2000-01 season and the saga finally ended when Lindros was traded to the Rangers that August.
For over a decade, there was very little mention of Lindros with the Flyers. He had retired from playing in 2007 and while he was a large part of Flyers history, was nowhere to be found when it came to anything around the alumni.
That all changed when then-GM Paul Holmgren helped to put the pieces back together in 2011. Lindros returned to Philadelphia to participate in the 2012 Winter Classic Alumni game, held on New Year’s Eve of 2011. Lindros received a raucous ovation, felt the love of the Philly crowd, and it set in motion the honors he deserved from the franchise that he had built his career with for many years.
In November 2014, Lindros was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame along with longtime linemate John LeClair. In 2016, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and had his No. 88 retired by the Flyers in January of 2018. In addition, Lindros was back on the ice for the Flyers in a 50th Anniversary season Alumni Game and reunited with Legion of Doom linemates LeClair and Mikael Renberg.
With the relationship mended, Lindros has now been a regular part of the Flyers alumni ever since, and that has taken on new meaning during this time of pause.
In connection with the ALL IN Challenge, Lindros and the Flyers are auctioning off “the Ultimate Philadelphia Flyers Game Day Experience.” One winner and 11 guests will get to participate in a game-day morning skate on Wells Fargo Center ice, watch warmups for a game from the bench, participate in a ceremonial puck drop with Lindros and then watch the game and have a post-game celebration with Lindros from a catered suite.