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Central Park gives perfect backdrop for Hockey Day

Sunday, 02.17.2013 / 2:27 PM
Tal Pinchevsky  - NHL.com Staff Writer

Kicking off a national day of celebration, the National Hockey League, USA Hockey and the New York Rangers all descended on the fabled Trump Rink in historic Central Park to provide a picturesque hub for Hockey Day in America presented by Discover Card.

The rink did not just provide an outdoor studio for NBC and NBC Sports Network, who together are broadcasting an NHL triple-header as part of the Hockey Day in America festivities. The park also hosted one of the countless grassroots hockey events taking place across the country.

Split squarely down the middle, Trump Rink hosted a day-long open public skate side-by-side with a youth hockey clinic overseen by USA Hockey and featuring former Rangers like Ron Duguay, Nick Fotiu, Dan Blackburn and Ron Greschner.

"USA Hockey gets the kids involved. And what a great place to get involved, Central Park in New York City," said Fotiu, who became the first New York-born Rangers player in 1976. "I help out and we make it a little more fun. That's what hockey is about. Having fun."

The event was one of several similar clinics taking place across the United States to mark Hockey Day in America, which is the culmination of the Hockey Weekend Across America celebration.

For the Rangers, it was also part of the team's launch of their new Go Skate initiative. The platform looks to improve the overall youth hockey experience in the tri-state area by increasing accessibility to the sport through clinics, camps and other free events.

On the weekend celebrating hockey across the country, it's one more initiative helping Americans young and old enjoy their love for the game.

"I live in Dallas right now, so you see hockey growing substantially down there," Blackburn said. "Before the Stars got there, there was one rink. Now there are about 10. It's tremendous."

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