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Wayne Simmonds, a former Flyers star and NHL All-Star Game MVP, retires

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Former Philadelphia Flyers star Wayne Simmonds announced his retirement Monday, ending a 15-year career that included NHL All-Star Game MVP honors.

Simmonds, who played in 18 games last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs, will sign a ceremonial one-day contract with the Flyers and be honored by the franchise during an April 13 game against the New Jersey Devils.

Simmonds blossomed into a durable star for the Flyers after he was acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in a 2011 trade. He scored 203 goals over his eight seasons with the Flyers.

“It’s hard to describe my emotions on a day like this, but one of my very first thoughts as I look back is my life in Philadelphia and playing for the Flyers,” Simmonds said. “Taking the ice in a Flyers sweater is a special feeling and it’s one that I’m truly proud of. The history of this franchise and standard of being a Flyer that was set is unique and one that I hold in the highest regard."

Simmonds scored a hat trick in the 2017 All-Star Game to earn MVP honors. He was the first Black player to earn an All-Star Game MVP award since 1986. He was one of several Black players who helped form the Hockey Diversity Alliance in 2020, creating another avenue in the NHL to fight racism and intolerance in the sport.

The 35-year-old faced his share of discrimination over his hockey career. In 2013, a court in the Czech Republic banned eight fans from a stadium for one year for racially abusing Simmonds when he was played there during the NHL lockout. Simmonds was entering his third season with Los Angeles in 2011 when someone threw a banana on the ice during an exhibition game in London, Ontario. The man was fined $200.

Simmonds was a finalist for the 2017-18 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award and won the award in 2018-19 when he split the season between Philadelphia and Nashville.

Simmonds had 263 goals and 526 career points in 1,037 NHL regular-season games in 15 seasons with Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Nashville, New Jersey, Buffalo and Toronto (2008-23). He scored eight goals and had 22 playoff points in 53 career playoff games with the Kings, Flyers, Predators and Maple Leafs. He skated in his 1,000th NHL regular-season game in 2022 with Toronto. He originally was selected by Los Angeles in the second round (61st overall) of the 2007 NHL draft.

Simmonds represented Canada at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship (gold) and at the 2013 and 2017 (silver) IIHF World Championships.

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