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Flyers rookie diary: Travis Konecny plays Santa when not playing forward

Santa Claus is characterized by his jolly-nature and round belly.

The latter part doesn’t fit at all when describing Flyers rookie Travis Konecny, but the former certainly does, which is why he was the perfect choice to don an orange Santa suit as he and a few of his teammates surprised those at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on Tuesday.

“It was a lot of fun [on Tuesday] being able to put a smile on the kids’ faces,” Konecny said. “They deserve that. It’s just awesome for us being able to give back. They’ve been through a lot, it literally takes nothing for us to come here and give back and just support the community. To see the kids happy, it’s just awesome.”

Konecny was joined at the hospital by Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Jake Voracek, Michael Del Zotto and Michael Raffl.

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The players spent an hour at the facility, doing everything from arts and crafts to handing out gifts to simply having conversations with the children.

“Seeing a lot of smiles on the kids’ faces, that’s what it’s all about,” Konecny said. “We always enjoy when we get to do that.”

Konecny can’t point to one specific interaction as being more memorable than the other. To him, every visit he had was special in its own right.

“Each and every kid is great,” Konecny said. “You had an opportunity to get to know each and every one of them, learn what they’re into, their hobbies, favorite sports, whatever it was … the kids were so excited to see some of us.”

The visit comes at a great time for two reasons. First, giving back and dedicating your time to improve someone else’s day is what Christmas is all about. Second, it proved to be a nice step back from everything going on at the rink.

The Flyers are two losses removed from a historical 10-game winning streak that placed them right in the middle of the playoff race. Being able to take a breather after that determined run was certainly welcomed, particularly by Konecny.

The 19-year-old goes into Wednesday’s game with Washington on a 19-game goal-less drought. Before that, he had scored four goals in the first 15 games. Head coach Dave Hakstol isn’t concerned about the lack of scoring from his second-line winger.

“Every night he’s getting opportunities,” Hakstol said. “This is a hard league to score in as a young guy. He’s just got to continue working through that side of it, but he is getting those opportunities or else it would be a little different of a discussion.”

The goals will come for him eventually — perhaps he can channel his inner Santa and deliver some of those goals during the Flyers important back-to-back with two division foes before the holiday break.

 
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