The Unofficial Flyers Grandma: Cam Atkinson's 'Grandma Marge' a hit with hockey fans

Greenwich native Cam Atkinson is making a name for himself in his first year with the Philadelphia Flyers. But it's another member of his family who's captured the hearts of Flyers Nation without even scoring a goal--his 87-year-old grandma, Margaret Robben.

News 12 Staff

Oct 29, 2021, 5:22 PM

Updated 874 days ago

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Greenwich native Cam Atkinson is making a name for himself in his first year with the Philadelphia Flyers. But it's another member of his family who's captured the hearts of Flyers Nation without even scoring a goal--his 87-year-old grandma, Margaret Robben.
"Grandma Marge has obviously been one of my biggest supporters since day one. You know, I think she'll take all the credit for my athletic ability," Cam said.
"I've been watching him all his life," Grandma Marge told News 12.
Over the years she's proudly displayed Cam's team colors wherever he played.
Cam went to Avon Old Farms for high school, then earned a hockey scholarship to Boston College.
He was drafted in the sixth round and spent 10 years with the Columbus Blue Jackets where he emerged as an All-Star.
The 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 178-pound forward was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in the summer.
These days, Marge lives at Edgehill retirement community in Stamford where she's still Cam's biggest cheerleader.
A few months ago, Cam gave her a gift -- his first Flyers jersey, which he'd signed.
"I wanted to take a selfie," Marge explained. "And I put it on and tried to take the selfie, and I said, 'Well, it doesn't say Atkinson on the front.' So I took it off, I turned it around, and I put it on backwards so I could take the selfie."
Marge posted the picture on Twitter -- which Cam retweeted to his more than 56 thousand followers -- writing "My Grandma Marge looks good in orange and black." And suddenly Grandma Marge was an internet sensation among Flyers fans.
"It just went viral," Cam said.
"They were coming in tweet tweets for two days, one after the other after the other, saying some marvelous things," Marge tells News 12. "2,500 of them sent me tweets."
One wrote, "Grandma Marge is already a Philly legend."
Another added, "Now the Flyers need to win the cup for Grandma Marge."
A third chimed in, "Somebody buy her a cheesesteak."
Marge is no stranger to social media -- despite her age.
"I wanted to be part of my grandchildren's lives, and the only way you can do that is if you know what they're doing, you go where they go."
She's on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram -- even TikTok. But going viral -- that's all new.
"I said, 'Cam, I can't wait till it's over.' He said, 'Grandma, you've just begun.'"
Cam wasn't kidding. Soon a T-shirt company made a line featuring Grandma Marge, further endearing her to Flyers Nation.
"I think they miss their own grandma, and I represented to them a kind of joy that was coming to Philadelphia," Marge says.
Because of that popularity, Marge scored an invite from the Flyers to opening night on Oct. 15.
Cam would be making his debut on the ice, and the organization wanted Grandma Marge to as well.
"I wanted to put on ice skates and skate out to Gritty, but my kids said, 'No way,'" Marge told us.
So, she and about 50 family members and friends traveled by train, plane and car to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. They went to cheer on Cam during the game and Marge during the second intermission. That's when she rode the Zamboni around and around, sporting her Atkinson jersey backward, before a crowd of 19,338.
"It was fun! It was really fun!" Marge said.
"It's just a special moment--a night like tonight, her going on the Zamboni. She deserves it all," Cam shared with News 12.
You could call her the unofficial grandma for Flyers fans, and for now, she's just along for the ride.


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