New Flyer Pierre-Edouard Bellemare Adjusting to America
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare decided to better know his new city last Friday. The 29-year-old free-agent forward, who signed with the Flyers in June, met up with one of his best friends in town and boy did he have culture shock.
Bellemare is a native of Paris, so he’s used to big city life. He quickly found out that means very different things in America and France.
“For me, it’s kind of another world,” said Bellemare, who played the last eight seasons in Sweden and the prior five in France. “The cars are not the same. The streets are not the same. In France, there’s a little bit of dogs, but it’s so much more narrow. You do don’t see people just running. We have places where people go running. Here it can be 8 o’clock and people just coming every way and running. It’s a change.”
In Bellemare’s hometown the streets wind in and out, spiraling from the city’s center. The grid layout of Philadelphia and a “block” as a unit of measurement perplexed him at first.
“What’s a block?” he remembered asking when someone gave him directions.
He’s hoping the on-ice adjustment comes a little easier, although it’s generally a difficult one for players who skate on the smaller, North American ice surface for the first time.
“I can feel the difference in my eyes,” said Bellemare, who chose to sign with the Flyers over the Montreal Canadiens because he thought he’d have a better opportunity to play.