Wednesday, January 23, 2013
This season, the New York Rangers and Garden of Dreams Foundation held year two of the Rangers and Garden of Dreams Power Players program. The introductory street hockey program kicked off its 2012-13 sessions in November with a series of launch events featuring Rangers staff and alumni Nick Fotiu, Dave Maloney, and Brian Mullen. Throughout the eight week program, the instruction was based upon six values: Commitment, Excellence, Fun, Respect, Responsibility and Teamwork. At each weekly clinic, one value was stressed by the Rangers’ Hockey Development instructors to help reinforce important life lessons that the children may have learned previously at home or in the classroom.
The culmination of the program was a round robin tournament between the three Garden of Dreams partner organizations, Children’s Aid Society, Harlem Dowling and WHEDco held on January 18th. The tournament would be the first time that the participants could showcase the skills that they’ve honed over the prior weeks of instruction. On hand to give final tips and lend support for the games of the tournament were Rangers alumni Rod Gilbert, Adam Graves, and Ron Greschner.
“This was so much fun to see the kids really love playing the game”, said Gilbert. “They were smiling the entire time, it’s something they might not have had the chance to do without the program.”
With a two rink set up in the WHEDco gymnasium, the 110 Power Players (first year participants) and Selects (second year participants), played a round-robin style tournament against all of the teams to kick off the event. After the series of games had completed, the children retreated to the bleachers for a much needed water break in anticipation of the award ceremony. Rangers public address announcer Joe Tolleson led the award ceremony and congratulated the children for completing the program. As a part of the ceremony, all of the children’s’ names were announced while they each lined up to meet the Rangers alumni and receive their awards, which included a certificate of completion, photo plaque, personalized Rangers jersey, medal, and more. “For the kids, they came away with a ton of Rangers items, but most of all they appreciated the playing the game,” said Greschner. “You could see they were having a great time, it’s a great program.”