Jake Voracek had a love/hate relationship with the Philadelphia Flyers fans.
Some loved him for his energy, his puck control, and his passing.
Some loathed him for his defensive lapses and his oh-too-frequent turnovers.
But he was never boring, never one to mince words, never one to shy away from controversy.
Voracek liked it that way and, truth be told, mostly enjoyed his 10 seasons in Philly before being dealt to Columbus — his old stomping grounds — for high-scoring Cam Atkinson in July.
I friggin’ miss @jachobe! The word I really wanted to use ironically rhymes with “puck”.
— Joe Adams (Joey) (@JoeAda16) January 20, 2022
A Columbus club official on Wednesday called Voracek doubtful to face the Flyers Thursday because he was still on the COVID list and hadn’t skated since going on the list Jan. 13.
He didn’t know Voracek.
The right winger came off the COVID list Thursday, took a flight to Philly to join his teammates, and will be in the lineup tonight to face the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center, where he will be saluted with a video.
“He knew this game was coming up for a while,” Columbus coach Brad Larsen said. “The circumstances leading up to it, he couldn’t control, but I know he’s excited to play tonight.”
While acknowledging it would be “weird to play against my friends,” Voracek was happy he was able to make the trip. He had 10 mostly productive seasons here, and is fifth in Flyers history with 427 career assists.
The Czech Republic native stopped by the Flyers’ locker room this morning. “They didn’t kick me out, so that’s good,” he cracked.
I can't stand Jake but Gritty's happy. pic.twitter.com/pSpzPt2Zkd
— MySHSHL (@MySHSHL_PA) January 20, 2022
Voracek, 32, who has one goal and 24 assists in 34 games this season, said there were “so many” fond memories of his time in Philadelphia.
“It’s been such a fun and good ride,” he said. “When you spend a decade with your friends in one of the best sports towns in the world,” it’s a positive experience