Entering their third season in the city of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Wings gave The City of Brotherly Love a brief taste of what it might be like to finally have a winning sports team. Starting off strong by winning their first three home games, the Wings seemed promising and perseverant as ever. Come February, however, disaster struck. Much to the chagrin of the fans, the Wings lost four games in a row. By the end of March, the likelihood of the team even making the playoffs, let alone contending for a championship, seemed rather bleak.
At the trade deadline, Paul Day attempted to rejuvenate the Wings roster by sending defenseman Anthony Joaquim and their third round selection in the 2022 Entry Draft to the Colorado Mammoth in exchange for forward Sam LeClair and their second round selection in the 2022 Entry Draft. Day also traded Brett Hickey to the San Diego Seals in exchange for their second round selection in the 2024 Entry Draft. Come March 25th, the Wings signed Kyle Jackson to a one year agreement after his sudden release from the Halifax Thunderbirds. These new additions proved worthwhile, with Kyle Jackson contributing 26 points in 6 games and Sam LeClair scoring a goal in each game he played.
Kyle Jackson hugs his new teammates after his first goal as a member of the Wings :: Photo By Micheline V
The Wings’ playoff push came down to the wire. After a huge overtime win in San Diego, the Wings controlled their own destiny heading into the final two games of the season. After a let down in Albany, it came down to the final game of the season in Georgia, where Blaze Riorden’s shorthanded overtime heroics sent the Wings to the playoffs for the first time in almost 10 years.
Unfortunately, the Wings playoff run was a short one as they fell 8-9 to the San Diego Seals in the NLL Quarterfinals.
Despite the ups and downs of the season, the team had many accomplishments that may indicate a more impressive 22-23 season to come. Veterans Kevin Crowley, Kyle Matisz, and even Matt Rambo, despite his brief stint on the Injury List, proved their consistency by scoring a point in every game they played this season. Kevin Crowley led the team in both points and assists while Ben McIntosh recorded the most goals.Other notable achievements include Trevor Baptiste’s 700th faceoff win in January, Ian Llord passing 700 career loose balls in February, and Corey Small scoring his 300th career goal in March. Lastly, April was a big month for individual achievements, as we saw Ben McIntosh’s 200th career assist, Zach Higgins’ 2,500th career save, Kiel Matisz’s 500th career point, and even Head Coach Paul Day’s 200th career game.
The Wings Celebrate after a goal against San Diego – 4.08.22
The Wings had a tough year when it came to juggling the roster due to players out on injury or COVID protocols, and with the expansion draft on the horizon, along with a lot of veteran players on expiring contracts, the waters may begin to appear murkier for how this team will look next season. Despite these challenges, the Philadelphia Wings are a team known for their toughness and resilience, and they are expected to contend for the NLL Champions Cup next June.