Tag Archives: Michael Del Zotto

A new postgame tradition in Philly?

Steve Mason (left) and Michael Del Zotto have each received Colby's Cap, which awards a player of the game while honoring a fallen Iraq War soldier. (David Strehle via Twitter)

Steve Mason (left) and Michael Del Zotto have each received Colby’s Cap, which awards a player of the game while honoring a fallen Iraq War soldier. (David Strehle via Twitter)

Look, postgame traditions are nothing new in hockey. Whether or not its a pizza party after a peewee tournament, or a way to celebrate the best players in NHL games, postgame traditions are far from uncommon.

The Arizona Coyotes have a customized WWE title belt. The New York Rangers have their Broadway hat. Countless teams give out a game puck. The list goes on for the various creative ways that teams reward impact players.

The Philadelphia Flyers became the latest team to embrace that trend — as they’ve found a way that celebrates seminal players while honoring a fallen soldier in the Iraq War.

This season, the Flyers have distributed “Colby’s Cap” to their player of the game, after wins. It garnered particular attention during Thursday’s win over Florida — a game that the Flyers wore camouflage sweaters during warmups as part of “Military Appreciation Month” celebrations.

But who exactly is “Colby,” and what does his cap have to do with the Orange and Black?

First Lt. Colby J. Umbrell was a Doylestown, Bucks County, Pa. (approximately an hour’s drive from Wells Fargo Center) native, who was killed in the line of duty in the Iraq War in 2007. When Craig Berube attended a Memorial Day parade in Doylestown this year, he got the idea to honor a fallen soldier during a Flyers game this year. As per Sam Carchidi of The Philadelphia Inquirer,

The idea was hatched when Flyers coach Craig Berube attended the Memorial Day parade in Doylestown and told his friend Bill Goldman that he would like to start some military tradition with the team. Goldman, a Doylestown attorney, later contacted Umbrell’s family.

 

The cap is given out to a player that truly contributes to a Flyers win, even if it isn’t necessarily reflected in the scoresheet. As Carchidi’s report continues,

Before Thursday’s game against Florida on Military Appreciation Night, Berube said he wanted to honor someone “who puts it on the line all the time.” He added that the cap is “not just awarded for points. It’s not just given out to, say, Claude Giroux if he gets three points. It’s more than that. It’s for somebody who did something for the team, showed courage. A team guy. Like those guys” in the military.

Steve Mason and Michael Del Zotto are several of the cap’s recipients thus far. First Lt. Umbrell’s family also had the opportunity to meet with the team after a recent practice at their Voorhees, N.J. facility.

Unique postgame traditions, and honoring heroes are universal concepts throughout the world of professional sports. The Philadelphia Flyers found a crafty way to do both.

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