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Carchidi: Ex-Flyers D-man Chris Therien to Make Mark at Pa. Capitol

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Chris Therien, Philadelphia Flyers

Chris Therien holds the Philadelphia Flyers’ record for most career games played by one of their defensemen.

But the man affectionately known as “Bundy” has made his most impressive contributions off the ice, where he is helping people who are battling alcohol and/or drug addiction.

“It can hit anyone,” Therien said. “You can be a hockey player, a school principal, a trash collector. It doesn’t matter.”

A reformed alcoholic, Therien will join the Pennsylvania Association of Treatment Court Professionals on a visit to the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg on Wednesday. Among other things, he will educate legislators about recovery, and the reduction in the rate of incarceration for drug-related offenses.

‘Selling hope’

“It gives me an opportunity to get in front of people who can make decisions,” said Therien, who in 2022 wrote an emotional book with Wayne Fish called Road to Redemption. “It’s the message of hope. I’m selling hope — and that’s what people need to have. I want to give people the same kind of hope that I had. And when I didn’t have it, I found it.”

Therien, 52, is the chief wellness officer for the Pennsylvania Recovery Center, which currently treats substance-use disorders and mental health with three centers in the region. He will join bipartisan legislators from across the Commonwealth, as well as problem-solving court alumni, and speak at the Capitol about his personal battles with abuse and his recovery.

The former Flyers defensemen’s three centers have aided those in need.

“When someone had struggles or they had to do something through the drug court, we have a place for them to come,” Therien said.

Therien has been sober for 13-plus years. In his final days as a player with the Flyers in the 2005-06 season, he said, he was “basically told to get out” because his drinking was out of control.

He has straightened out his life and turned his attention toward others who are trying to make recoveries.

Trying to remove stigma

Matt Schmonsees, director of Philadelphia Treatment Court, recently asked Therien if he was interested in being the keynote speaker Wednesday in Harrisburg.

“I’m excited to do it,” Therien said. “A lot needs to be done, but if one or two voices that really hear the impact of my story and what we’re trying to do, and get people the help they need,” it will be helpful. “Really, to knock the stigma off it. We’re at a time where people really shouldn’t be ashamed of it. I want them to know they have a safe place and a safe environment.

“… You want to be able to give that recovery to other people.”

He is also the founder of Bundy Recovery which allows people to hear his message of hope while also voicing and sharing their own personal struggles. Therien supplies after-care treatment at his three facilities — one in Center City, and others in Phoenixville and Cherry Hill. (For those who want info on his centers, call 1-800-638-5370, or go to pennsylvaniabehavioralhealth.com or pennsylvaniarecoverycenter.org)

“Chris’ story of recovery is an inspiration to so many individuals,” Schmonsees said. “He truly is a champion for recovery and we are honored he will join us at the State Capitol and share his story. Perhaps even move some of our legislators to action in providing more opportunities to help those battling addiction.”

About the hockey team …

Therien is a busy man. He hosts the Philadelphia Flyers pregame show on the radio and is a member of the Snow the Goalie podcast.

As for this year’s Flyers, who exceeded expectations but still missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season, Therien said “they still have some work to do. The one thing that was really important this year was the return of culture. To me, that was everything.”

He said he had seen many fans become “totally apathetic toward the team the (previous) three years.”

That changed over the course of this season. “The building was sold out for the last game of the year,” he said, mindful the Flyers had a chance to reach the playoffs in Game 82 against Washington.

“They need more skill,” he said, “but they made steps this year. I thought a lot of the young guys got a lot of good work in, but there’s a lot of work to do.”

He paused.

“They made big strides this year, and I think it was exciting they were there,” he said of the playoff race. “But I think it’s important that they don’t sit back and think next year will be the same. That can really sneak up and get you. Ask the New Jersey Devils.”

The heralded Devils, hindered by injuries, finished below the Flyers in the standings.

Sam Carchidi writes a weekly column for Philly Hockey Now. He and Jeff Hare are working on a TV series on the Flyers’ glory days, tentatively called “Bullies.” Carchidi can be reached at samcarchidi55@gmail.com.

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