Prior to the Philadelphia Flyers‘ game Tuesday tonight against the Anaheim Ducks in Anaheim, California, the team added defenseman Ivan Provorov and forward Claude Giroux to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. Provorov and Giroux joined defenseman Nick Seeler, forward Jackson Cates, and a staff member who were also placed on the league’s COVID-19 protocol list earlier this week. Given the fact that the team was on the annual West Coast road trip, there were not many options to fill a spot in the lineup.
With Ryan Ellis already missing more time than was originally anticipated, the Flyers were already shorthanded on back-end help, to begin with. Fortunately, defenseman Cam York was added to the club’s taxi squad prior to the start of the four-game road trip in case something like this happened. York would end up being the perfect replacement to enter the lineup, especially given the circumstances surrounding the game.
For York, the timing could not have happened any better as he is a native of Anaheim Hills, California and Wednesday also happens to be his 21st birthday. Moments like this truly only happen in movies, but for the young defenseman playing in front of his family, in his hometown quickly became a reality.
Hometown Kid Returns Home
York was born and raised in Anaheim Hills, California, where he grew up playing for the Jr. Ducks. He attended Ducks games on the regular with his family, which is where his love for the game of hockey started.
“I remember when I was a little kid and [the Flyers] would come out to Anaheim and play, I would always make sure I’d tell my parents, ‘We need to go to this game,'” York said after being drafted by the Flyers in 2019. “It’s just one of those organizations where they have a rich history and just always a successful team. I’m really looking forward to being a part of it.”
Fast forward a bunch of years later, and he would be making his sophomore season debut in front of the same crowd he was once part of, which was a moment he could only dream of. He knew his parents were going to be in attendance of the game no matter what happened as this was an opportunity they could not miss (from ‘Flyers’ Claude Giroux and Ivan Provorov placed in COVID-19 protocols; Cam York elevated from taxi squad,’ Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/4/2022).
“I want to inspire the next generation of hockey players out here,” York said prior to the start of the game. “Anything I can do to do that, I’m going to do. And, you know, to be here early in my career is special. I know there’s going to be a lot of family and friends in the building tonight.”
York went on to play 20 minutes in the game in a 4-1 loss to the Ducks, but the game meant so much more to him. He played a solid game on the back end and registered two shots on goal. Regardless of the outcome of the game, having the opportunity to play in front of his family and friends is a moment that he will never forget.
Taking Fully Advantage of the Opportunity
Moving forward, the Flyers will more than likely keep York in the lineup as long as they are able to with so many defensemen being out for the time being. He has absolutely earned the right to stay with the Flyers, even with just a four-game sample. This moment has been coming for the past two seasons, so why not take the opportunity now.
He is more than willing to continue developing his game and shows more than enough promise as a young defenseman. He is capable of eating minutes in key moments while providing defensive and offensive production.
“I’ve just been trying to be consistent in my game,” York said. “Night in and night out. I feel like recently with the Phantoms, I’ve been consistent, and that’s helped me a lot, just in all areas. Not trying to overdo things, but at the same time, play my game and be offensive and be a 200-foot player.”
The Flyers and York will look to get things going once again as they return to Philadelphia for a key Metropolitan Division matchup with the Pittsburg Penguins on Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center. York will more than likely be in the lineup as Provorov and Seeler will still be in COVID-19 protocols. Maybe this will be a wake-up call for the struggling Keith Yandle.
Bobby Bader Jr. is a freelance journalist born and raised in Philadelphia, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers since the start of the 2020-21 National Hockey League Season. He currently works with the Hershey Cubs Hockey Club (USPHL Premier) as the team’s media coordinator as the team competes in their inaugural season. He also serves as the Assistant Sports Information Director at Penn State Harrisburg. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Bobby on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo on articles like this one.