If someone wants to designate a sister city in Canada for Philadelphia, the choice at this time would have to be Peterborough, Ontario, a spotless little city of about 50,000, 600 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
Some 10 years ago, Peterborough was unheard of to just about all Philadelphians. But then came the National Hockey League followed by the National Lacrosse League and soon Peterborough and Philadelphia were unofficially sister cities. The first name player to make an impact between the cities was Andre Lacroix, who was a standout junior hockey player for the Peterborough Petes.
Andy was one of the original Flyers and now does a pretty fair job for the San Diego entry in the World Hockey Association. Lacroix will always have a tie with Philadelphia because he married Sue Postus, a one-time Spectrum employe whose dad was quite a halfback at Villanova.
The next athlete who joined the Peterborough-Philadelphia express was Rick MacLeish, the Flyers’ speedy center. MacLeish comes from Cannington, a little town about 20 miles from Peterborough, but he too played his junior hockey for.
Then came 1974 and the pro lacrosse invasion from Canada. When Bobby Allan was picked to coach the Wings, he brought with him no less than 13 players with him from Peterborough.
The Peterborough coming must have been the right one because it resulted in an immediate championship. The Peterborough contingent was led by Captain Carm Collins, NLL all stars Wayne Platt and John Grant and others such as Tim O’Grady, Larry and Glen Ferguson, Tom Parnell, Doug Maynard, Jim Wasson, Jim Hickey, Jim Vilneff, Mike Collins and Paul Jones.
This year, the Peterborough group has been cut to nine as quite a few of the aforementioned have retired or decided not to play. Yet, some of the new Wings in Ron Ryan, Jim Grady and Peter Guerin are Peterborough natives.
The Peterborough PCO junior team has won the Minto Cup Canadian championship the past several years, which means the area will continue to be a breeding ground for future pro lacrosse stars.
In fact, Wasson happens to have a kid brother named Bobby playing for the Peterborough Juniors with a fancy reputation. The Wings already have their sights on Bobby for next year’s player draft, but who knows if he’ll be left by the time Philadelphia’s turn comes to pick.
At this point, it’s quite plain that the “marriage” between Philadelphia and Peterborough has been fruitful and that someone ought to make an official pitch for sister city status between the two. The relationship is healthy and growing stronger all the time.