Growing up in the outskirts of Toronto, Wayne Simmonds had a lot of red on his bedroom walls. He was a Detroit Red Wings fan in Maple Leafs country and idolized Sergei Fedorov. “I just liked his style,” Simmonds said. “He had all the flashy equipment, but he played the game the right way. They even threw him on defense for probably a quarter of the year one time and he was still their best player.” The mural of Red Wings photos is still on the wall of his childhood bedroom. What Simmonds saw in Fedorov has carried him from his childhood to veteran status in the NHL. Whether the Flyers are up three goals or down three goals, Simmonds is always playing like it’s overtime of Game 7. “He never stops, no matter what,” coach Craig Berube said. “In a game, he’s always the same and playing the same. He’s a very, very good player, good leadership.” Ask Simmonds where that comes from and there’s no hesitation that his work ethic came from his parents. The 25-year-old winger didn’t come from a traditional home where hockey was a religion. His father Cyril is a construction worker and his mother Wanda worked for the city of Toronto. Somehow, they paid for hockey while raising five sons and a daughter. “They had a hard upbringing themselves,” Simmonds said. “My family never had a ton of money, but they worked hard. “They always told me if I was gonna make it, I’d have to work twice as hard as the next person. I’ve lived my life like that.” It’s no surprise that with that blue-collar mentality, Simmonds was instantly a fan favorite when he was traded to Philadelphia from Los Angeles in the summer of 2011. These days, he’s the Flyers’ lifeblood and their most consistent player. “He’s definitely one of them, for sure,” Berube said. “He’s an up and down winger that gets to the net. He does the same thing every game.” Simmonds scored a career-high 28 goals in his first season with the Flyers when he was finally put into a scoring role. His first three NHL seasons, he was in a checking role with the Kings on a line with former Flyer Michal Handzus.
Determined Simmonds has blue-collar mentality for Flyers
Courier-Post | Jan 26