Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Daniel Briere set to be honored by the Flyers

Longtime Flyer now getting some behind-the-scenes work with the club, until he decides his next career move.

PLAYING JUNIOR hockey in Canada doesn't usually provide the typical college experience during the ages of 18 to 20. That's not to say what Daniel Briere - who played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League - is doing now is any different, really.

Consider Briere's new business school training more of an apprenticeship than a traditional college. He's getting a crash course in the business of hockey.

After the Gatineau, Quebec, native retired from a 17-season NHL career over the summer, Briere, 38, was approached by Flyers president Paul Holmgren, who asked the six-year Flyers forward whether he wanted the opportunity to learn. Briere, who ended his hockey career 27 games shy of reaching 1,000 career NHL games, jumped at the opportunity.

Holmgren ran the idea by chairman Ed Snider and chief operating officer, Shawn Tilger. Both were intrigued.

"They've given me that opportunity to learn, so I'm just taking it," Briere said Friday at the Flyers' practice facility in Voorhees, N.J. "It keeps me out of trouble. The kids are at school during the day, so instead of just staying home . . .

"You can only work out for so long. I just jump in the car and come here or come downtown to Wells Fargo. I like it.

"For so many years, my meetings were about power play, the system, and the teams we were facing. Now I have the chance to see behind the door what it's like to sell tickets, and season tickets, and services and all that, so it's pretty cool. It gets me out of my comfort zone, and it's something that I didn't know anything about."

Briere will put on a suit Tuesday and go to the Wells Fargo Center, but not only to work. The Flyers will honor Briere's NHL career - one that produced 696 points in 973 games - as they did his former teammate, Kimmo Timonen, two weeks ago.

The diminutive center, who was once told he was too small to play in the NHL, was a pivotal part of the Flyers' successes during his time in orange and black. Dubbed "Mr. Playoffs," Briere helped lead the Flyers to the Eastern Conference final in 2007-08, his first season in Philadelphia. And then he led the league in playoff points (30 points) in 2009-10, when the Flyers lost to Chicago in six games in the Stanley Cup final.

Those seasons helped place him in historic company in Philadelphia and will have him in the Flyers' family for years to come.

"Mr. Snider has instilled that from the beginning - that once you're a Flyer, you're always a Flyer," Briere said. "I've heard that even before I signed with the Flyers.

"It's pretty special," Briere said of Tuesday's honoring. "This is probably the team that I've played the most amount of games and spent the most amount of time on out on the ice for, and also with the game being against the Buffalo Sabres is another pretty cool added little tidbit. So I'm definitely looking forward to it."

Briere played two-plus seasons with the Sabres before joining the Flyers.

Briere, who lives in Haddonfield, N.J., isn't sure what he wants to do long-term, but said hockey is "what I know." For now, he's enjoying the part-time work - he has no set hours - while still being able to focus on his three sons, who all attend St. Augustine Prep in Richland, N.J.

Like Timonen's ceremony, Briere will come onto the ice and drop a ceremonial puck, then have a "thank-you" video for the fans that will play during a stoppage.

What will he say?

"A huge thank-you for the amazing time, the amazing runs that we had, especially the 2010 playoff run. That was simply amazing," Briere said. "The whole city was buzzing, it was vibrating. It was really cool to be part of it."