The Philadelphia Flyers are a patient bunch. It’s a breath of fresh air these days at the Wells Fargo Center. More importantly, it’s awesome to see the spirit of hope back in South Philadelphia when the Flyers play. General Manager Ron Hextall is a man of his word in letting the kids play. Flyers fans and media alike aren’t accustomed to the youth infusion that the orange and black have undergone this season, but it’s been solid thus far.
What a solid season it has been for the youth thus far. With the likes of Taylor Leier, Scott Laughton, Robert Hagg, and Travis Sanheim, this team will only get better. Young stud defenseman Sanheim has been shaky at times, but very good at times, as well. These are the growing pains that a team goes through when they are committed to playing the youth. Sanheim states in his interview with me, “I’m just trying to play my game.” C’mon say it with me, let the young guns play.
Sanheim was born on March 29, 1996, in Elkhorn, MB, CAN. Like most Canadian children he found a love for the sport of hockey. Of course, like most kids his ultimate goal was to eventually play in the NHL. Well, his first wish came true as he was drafted 17th overall by the Flyers at the 2014 NHL Draft. After being drafted by the Flyers, Sanheim continued to play for his junior team of the Calgary Hitmen. He had a stellar campaign for the Hitmen in 2015-16, and managed to register 15 goals and 53 assists for a total of 68 points in 52 games played. After a career year, maybe it was his idol in Nicklas Lidstrom that gave him the added motivation to succeed.
“I admire Nicklas Lidstrom. He was steady, and could put up numbers offensively. I just tried to pick a bit from him..his stick was amazing, always had his stick in the right place at the right time.”
The young steady defenseman in Sanheim never wavered hope of establishing himself as an elite shutdown defender. After a career year with the Hitmen, Sanheim was sent to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the 2016-17 season. He had a shaky first half of the season, but Sanheim rebounded nicely to put together a heck of a second half of the season. For the season, he registered 10 goals, and 27 assists. More importantly, Sanheim was a whopping plus 7. He credits staying off social media, and his family for the added push of success.
“I’m trying to stay off social media. Just playing my game, controlling what I can control.”
This steady defenseman continued, “I grew up in a small town of Manitoba. I had three siblings, one twin brother. They’re the reason I’m at where I am at today. I talk to them on a daily basis. They stay up to date on how I’m doing, and I stay up to date on how they’re doing. We’re a close-knit family. I played hockey with my twin brother till I turned pro. I wish he could be here too.”
What was most important to the ever learning Sanheim was making the Flyers roster for the 2017-18 season. He worked hard in the off-season, as Sanheim hoped to make an impact to the Flyers top brass. He was motivated, and pumped to make the big club. Well, to no one’s surprise his wish came true. This added push may have fueled the vets on the team, as well.
“I’m just trying to play my game, and work hard everyday honestly. Young guys come in and their excited. I think it’s motivating the vets, as well. Come in and work hard. I think it’s benefiting both sides…I spent most of my summer down here training with these guys. I had a really good summer at the gym. I’m trying to follow what the Flyers want me to do to set myself up for a big year this year.”
The former Hitmen product, Sanheim is gaining experience with the orange and black. He has proven to be a valuable asset to the Flyers young defensive core for years to come. Sanheim has had a decent rookie campaign thus far. At times he seems like an elite shutdown defenseman, and other times he appears to be a rookie. These are the growing pains, and Sanheim will only get better as time goes along. He leaves the great fans of Philadelphia with this message:
“Get excited. It’s a good team here. Good young guys, and good guys have returned. We’re gonna have a good year.”
One thing is certain Flyers fans, the future is bright in Flyer land.
Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports