At first Flyers Carnival, Luke Schenn 'gets it'

At first Flyers Carnival, Luke Schenn 'gets it'
March 3, 2013, 5:00 pm
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When it came to indoctrinating Luke Schenn into the Flyers' culture of what the Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival meant, brother Brayden already had filled him in.
 
Brayden called Luke last year after it was over.
 
“He said he was at a carnival all day,” Luke recalled. “What type of carnival could you be at all day with fans?”
 
He saw first-hand Sunday while posing for pictures and signing autographs.
 
“I could never have predicted anything like that,” Luke Schenn said. “This is pretty special. I never heard of any professional sports organization doing something like this. It’s a pretty awesome experience for the players and fans and all supporting a great cause.”
 
At 23, Luke Schenn “gets it.”
 
The Flyers Wives Carnival has donated more than $25 million in the past 36 years. Sunday’s will likely raise at least $800,000. Exact amounts won’t be known for a while.
 
The event links the players to the fans and more than 100 area charities. Luke Schenn understands that may be something adults can brag about, but this isn’t about adults -- it’s about kids.
 
“It’s not too long ago I was a kid myself looking up to NHL players,” he said. “Couple times I got to meet NHL players. When you’re 15 or 16 and not in the NHL yet, just meeting an NHL player is a thrill.
 
“It wasn’t long ago I was [in] a position watching hockey, even getting a chance to go to an NHL game and trying to meet players. It’s a pretty special feeling. You have to remember your roots and where you came from.”
 
Jeff Martin drove 90 minutes with wife, Jenn, and daughter, Alexa, from their home in Manheim, Pa. They see a couple Flyers games a year.
 
“When I first came here, we had Dave Poulin, Rick Tocchet and Brian Popp,” Jeff Martin recalled. “It was unbelievable. I loved it.”
 
Alexa is 12 years old. She’s been wanting to come here for five years. Sunday was her dream come true.
 
“I wanna meet Scott Hartnell,” Alexa beamed.
 
Dad and mom were taking her to the #HartnellDown booth later, too. Maybe even get a tattoo.
 
“I’m here to experience the excitement of seeing her meet Hartnell and the other players,” Jenn Martin said.
 
“My husband is a seasoned fan. For me, it’s just to see what they are like off the ice and get a glimpse of their life outside it. And for her to get some photos and autographs.”
 
Sal Cavaliere, from Broomall, attended with his cousin, Silvio Ilisco. They had tickets to meet with Claude Giroux, who incidentally surprised a number of very lucky fans who took the press box tour and found he was one of their “stewards.”
 
Cavaliere, 30, first came when he was six or seven and the Carnival was at the Spectrum.
 
“It’s been years since I’ve been here, but I still have my picture as a kid of Rick Tocchet,” he said. “I was a little guy then. Every year it seems to get bigger and bigger.
 
“The thing is, you get to meet your favorite player. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
 
While Cavaliere was talking, Luke Schenn was walking from inside the bowl of the arena, up the stairs and through the concourse.
 
“It was madness everywhere,” Luke Schenn said. “Just goes to show -- I knew Flyers fans were passionate, but I could never have predicted this. It doesn’t even feel like you left Canada, honest. It’s crazy.”
 
What isn’t crazy is that the memories will linger for generations to come as Martin and Cavaliere will attest.
 
“There’s lots of kids here who one day will remember this for a long time,” Luke Schenn said.
 
“That’s the biggest thing. At the end of the day, it’s the kids you want to be there for because they’ll remember it forever.”
 
As was said, Luke Schenn “gets it.”

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