Wayne Simmonds

PHILADELPHIA -- Wayne Simmonds was honored by the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday as much for what he did on the ice during his eight seasons in Philadelphia as for what he did in the community.

The forward, who announced his retirement from hockey March 18, signed a ceremonial one-day contract Friday and was honored before the Flyers' 1-0 win against the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center.

"I'm extremely humbled to be able to retire as a Flyer," Simmonds said. "I started my journey as a young kid from Scarborough [Ontario] and finished playing for the [Toronto] Maple Leafs. But in between there, I wore the orange and black and I had the greatest eight years of my life in this city. And there's no other way I'd want to go out other than to be remembered as a Flyer. So, for me, this is extremely special, and for my family this is extremely special."

Simmonds had 378 points (203 goals, 175 assists) in 584 regular-season games with Philadelphia and 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 30 Stanley Cup Playoff games. The 35-year-old scored at least 30 goals twice with the Flyers and was named most valuable player of the 2017 NHL All-Star Game.

But just as important was his work with the Ed Snider Youth Hockey and Education Foundation. He has been on the board of directors since shortly after he was acquired by the Flyers in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings in 2011.

"The words 'true Flyer' are thrown around a lot and for good reason, but Wayne was the consummate Flyer," Flyers president of hockey operations Keith Jones said. "Tough as nails, first guy to be there to protect his teammates, and a really productive player at the same time, which is really tough to do all of those things. And then gave back not just to his team, his coaching staff, his managers, but to the community."

Wayne with Snider Hockey Kids

Simmonds moved into an emeritus role with Snider Hockey after he was traded to the Nashville Predators during the 2018-19 season but the hope is he will become more active with the program now that his playing career has ended.

"We're going to get him back as a full-time board member now for sure," Snider Hockey president Scott Tharp said. "I chatted with him a bit yesterday and he's happy to reengage with us now that he's going to be back in Philadelphia a little more often.

"If you canvassed 100 percent of our kids, probably 90 percent of them would say Wayne Simmons is their favorite player. He had a huge impact when he was here and we're looking forward to reengaging with him."

One of those players who looks up to Simmonds is J.J. Jones, an 18-year-old forward with the Snider Hockey program.

Jones, a native of Voorhees, New Jersey, patterns his game after Simmonds and is attempting to continue his hockey career in the fall with a team in the North American Hockey League.

"It's definitely great to see him and recognize him as a role model," Jones said. "He was the best. You saw how much he worked to score and he was very entertaining to watch. He's sort of like a big brother in a way even though I met him very few times. It was great to see him again. Glad to see him retire as a Flyer."

Wayne with young JJ

Jones was one the players to present Simmonds with a commemorative Snider Hockey jersey Saturday. As a 12-year-old in 2018, he also had the opportunity to meet Simmonds and take a photo with him, and they had a chance to reminisce about that photo and how Jones now nearly can look the 6-foot-2 Simmonds eye to eye.

"You don't really realize the impact that you have while you're doing it," Simmonds said. "I don't think that's why you do it in the first place. You just do it because you like giving back and that's the way I've always thought of it. So to kind of sit here and see the impact to me ... it's very good."

Flyers chairman Dan Hilferty said one of the happiest people to see Simmonds honored would have been founding owner Ed Snider, who died April 11, 2016.

"The way you played the game exemplified not only how Ed Snider, the founder of the organization, anticipated that a Flyer would play," Hilferty said. "The way each of you held each other accountable day in and day out, and that was not only on the ice, but it was also in the community. What you did for Snider Hockey and Education, you were always there. When you get a chance to rest a little bit, 'Jonesy' and I would love to have a conversation ... about how we can continue getting you involved in our community efforts."

Simmonds, selected by Los Angeles in the second round (No. 61) of the 2007 NHL Draft, finished his career with 526 points (263 goals, 263 assists) in 1,037 NHL games over 15 seasons with the Kings, Flyers, Predators, Devils, Buffalo Sabres and Maple Leafs and 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 53 playoff games.