On Tuesday, September 15, 2009, the New York Rangers and Garden of Dreams Foundation hosted the Third Annual Season Launch Party to kick-off the 2009-10 hockey season at Madison Square Garden.
In true Rangers spirit, Rangers legends, Adam Graves, Rod Gilbert, Brian Mullen and Nick Fotiu, and 250 children and families from eight Foundation partner organizations, including Children’s Village, Children’s Aid Society, Life Center, the NYPD Windows and Children’s Fund, WHEDCo, Harlem Dowling, Loisaida and SCO Family of Services, visited The Garden for the special event.
“I always feel privileged to be a part of events like this with the Garden of Dreams Foundation,” Rangers all-time leading scorer, Rod Gilbert said. “This night was all about the children.”
Greeted by music and gift items, such as hats, lanyards, and cameras, the children and families were ready to begin the night. The children promptly scoped out the activities, including carnival games, interactive video games, face painters and balloon sculptors. They received tips from Brian Mullen at the Slapshot Booth, played bubble hockey alongside Adam Graves and Rod Gilbert, and challenged Nick Fotiu to NHL video games.
Fotiu, the first native New Yorker to play for the Rangers, was excited to be a part of the season kickoff celebration.
“Coming to a Rangers game alone is special, but having this beforehand is really great and adds that little extra for the children,” he said. “Seeing them happy makes me glad to be a part of it.”
Following the party, each child received popcorn and cotton candy before heading to the arena to cheer on the Rangers in their first preseason game of the season.