The 2017 NHL All-Star Game has come and gone, but it won't be one that NHLPA.com Player of the Week, Wayne Simmonds, will soon forget.
Before the native of Scarborough, Ontario, headed to Los Angeles to represent the Metropolitan Division, Simmonds helped his Philadelphia Flyers to back-to-back wins by scoring a goal in each, and netted his team-leading 21st of the season on Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. A force to be reckoned with on the power play, 10 of Simmonds' goals have now come on the man-advantage.
On Friday, it was back to the city that drafted him for his very first All-Star appearance. Simmonds wasn't sure what to expect in his return to his old stomping grounds as an All-Star, but it turns out, he left quite the loyal, and loud, fan base behind.
“You leave a place, you don’t expect to come back and get all the cheers as I did today,” Simmonds said. “But I must have did something right when I was here. I know I had a lot of die-hard fans here, and I really appreciate those people. They made me feel really good today.”
With a nickname like 'Wayne Train', Simmonds is definitely known for his grit, but he was all finesse as he tallied two unassisted goals as part of a 10-6 win over the Atlantic.
It was on to the Final against the Pacific, where Simmonds buried the game-winning-goal on a 2-on-0 rush. Simmonds' Metropolitan team held on against Pacific for a 4-3 win - thanks in part to teammate for the weekend Ryan McDonagh's amazing kick save in the final minute of the game - to take the All-Star Game crown and the one-million dollar purse to be split among the 11 players on the winning team.
Simmonds skated away with a brand new Honda truck as the Game's MVP, becoming the second player in Flyers' history to win the honour, after Reggie Leach accomplished the feat in 1980.
"This is one of the best days of my life. I had a blast with all these guys," said Simmonds, "I don't know if I realize what is going on right now."
Simmonds chose his words wisely, knowing he has another very special day ahead of him, as he recently got engaged.
Simmonds continues to match is on-ice contributions with those off the ice. The winger founded Wayne’s Road Hockey Warriors (WRHW) - an annual charity ball hockey tournament that gives back to the community that he grew up playing hockey in. Visit waynesimmonds17.com for more information on the tournament.
For a complete listing of the 2016-17 NHLPA.com Players of the Week, click here.