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A shaved head, a spot on the roster, and surprise visitors for Flyers rookie Carsen Twarynski

Twarynski had surprise visitors take planes that flew for about 15 hours to meet him in Prague, where he will make his NHL debut Friday.

Carsen Twarynski (middle), the Flyers' rookie right winger, hugs his dad, Rob, and his mom, Kim, in Prague.
Carsen Twarynski (middle), the Flyers' rookie right winger, hugs his dad, Rob, and his mom, Kim, in Prague.Read moreZACK HILL / Flyers

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- Growing up in Calgary, Carsen Twarynski never dreamed he would make his NHL debut in Prague.

But that’s what will happen Friday at the O2 Arena.

“Making the roster means a lot, but it’s also just another door opened,” Twarynski said after Thursday’s practice. “The work is nowhere near done yet. You can get sent down at any time. I did the work to make this roster, and I have to keep on working to stay here.”

After an outstanding preseason, the hard-nosed 21-year-old right winger will play on the Flyers’ third line as they open the season against Chicago.

His parents, Rob and Kim, will be there. They surprised him by meeting him Thursday in Prague after about 15 hours of air travel from Calgary.

“It just shows the love and support they have for me,” the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Twarynski said. “I know my brother wanted to make it, too, but he’s in training for military purposes, so he couldn’t be here.”

His mom, Kim, smiled while talking about her son’s accomplishment.

“It is a big deal,” she said. “You know, it's just like anything in life, there's always one opportunity to have a first time. We're there for the first of everything else, so this is something we just have to be here for.''

On his way to the NHL, Twarynski never got a call from Canada’s national teams, but he kept pushing.

“He does have the willpower and drive,” Kim Twarynski said. “I mean, I know going into camp this year, he was like 'I'm going to make this team.' He outright said it. In terms of the past, he's just always been that underdog. There's always a guy that everybody talks about and he's never been that guy. Which is fine with us because sometimes it's better not to have all that attention.

“I don't think he's out to prove anybody wrong,” she added. “Just out there to prove it to himself that he can do it. And we know he can do it. He did it himself.''

Twarynski said it won’t take long to build chemistry with linemates James van Riemsdyk and Scott Laughton.

“This is the National Hockey League and everyone knows where they’re supposed to be and everyone knows what they’re doing,” he said.

Drafted in the third round in 2016,Twarynski nearly made the team out of camp last year. During this year’s preseason, he scored a pair of goals and displayed a relentless style.

Off the ice, he decided to have two of his teammates buzz off all his hair – he wouldn’t say which barbers did the honors – before the Flyers played an exhibition game in Switzerland.

“It was during a team bonding (session),” he said. “I thought, ‘What better story than to do it with the boys?’ It was kind of an impulse thing.”


Connor Bunnaman, another rookie, will center the fourth line. ... Claude Giroux is again the captain, with Jake Voracek, Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes serving as alternates. … Joel Farabee was emotional as he talked about not making the team, but vowed to work hard with the Phantoms to get back. GM Chuck Fletcher said playing in the AHL has great benefits that will pay off down the road. … Based on practice, the Flyers’ first power-play unit will be composed of van Riemsdyk, Giroux, Voracek, Hayes, and Shayne Gostisbehere. The second unit will have Oskar Lindblom, Couturier, Travis Konecny, Matt Niskanen, and Ivan Provorov.