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Thanks for the Memories, J.R.- Jeremy Roenick Retires

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Memories are the beauty of sports. They have the power to bridge the generation gap. They have the power to unite.

But most of all, memories have the power to inspire. That being said, when I reflect on the twenty year career of former Flyer Jeremy Roenick - who retired this week after two very successful decades in the NHL - I will always remember one moment above all else. It was one of those rare moments of sight and sound that instantly leave an imprint.

It was May 4th, 2004 in Toronto in which Roenick entered into the consciousness of Flyers fans forever. It was game six. The Flyers were leading the second round series 3-2. The game was tied at two after a couple of late Toronto goals. Flyers fans collectively breathed deep as the game was destined for overtime.

In this sudden death overtime, Roenick calmly picked the puck off the boards and danced up the ice to roof one past Toronto goalie Eddie Belfour. I can still hear Flyers announcer Jim Jackson to this day:

“He Scores! He Scores! Jeremy Roenick sends the Flyers to the Eastern Conference Finals! Sudden Death Magic!!”

For Jeremy Roenick, it truly was magic. Roenick celebrated by dancing up the ice, skate by skate by skate in rhythm. He was mobbed by his teammates. In that moment, he became a legend in this town, much like J.J. Daigneault did years before. It was one of the last standout moments in a standout career. Roenick played in nine all-star games and compiled 513 goals and 1,216 points over his career. He is one of only three American born players to score 500 goals.

In the summer of 2001, Roenick brought his aging talents and colorful personality from Phoenix to Philadelphia in an effort to chase the Stanley Cup. For the Flyers, it was an effort to keep winning as they moved past the Lindros era. Simply known as “J.R.”, Roenick proved to legions of Flyers fans that he was far from washed up. He proved his toughness and skill on the ice, as well as his Hollywood-like, larger than life personality off the ice. He had a nose for both the camera and the back of the net. He gave us many memorable moments and plenty of highlight reel goals. But one was simply unforgettable.

Roenick played just three of his twenty seasons in the orange and black. But on that night in early May 2004, he shot and dashed and danced his way into Flyers folklore.

Thanks for the memories, J.R. You may not have been a Flyer for long, but you certainly left an indelible mark.

photo: http://www.ksl.com/emedia/apimage/NYOL58109042015.jpg