The many personalities of the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers were brought to life on Wednesday night through the premiere of HBO's "24/7: Road to the NHL Winter Classic" -- and a loyal contingent of hockey fans in New York City were along for the ride.
Fans of all ages convened at the viewing party at the NHL Store Powered by Reebok on 6th Avenue and 47th Street in Manhattan for an inside look at Rangers' coach John Tortorella, Flyers' coach Peter Laviolette and the daily routine of each side of the "Broadway vs. Broad Street" rivalry.
With chances to win prizes, complimentary food served and an opportunity to see their favorite NHL players in an entirely different light, Rangers and Flyers fans took part in an event that they would not soon forget.
"It was a nice experience -- very enjoyable," said Anthony from Brooklyn, N.Y. "I'm glad I came out. It was nice to see the players in a whole new light. Even when you're at the game, you don't hear a lot of what the players and coaches are talking about. It was a great experience for the fans."
Whether Ilya Bryzgalov was describing the passion of Flyers' fans or Tortorella was giving his players the business during intermission, the production values of HBO's acclaimed 24/7 series channeled the passion -- and often humor -- of fans at the NHL Store. Laughter was abundant throughout the night as fans got some shopping done before the holidays and had an opportunity to enjoy the next chapter of HBO's award-winning series.
"I have really good seats at the Garden, but I can't get into the locker room no matter how hard I try, so it really is tremendous to hear what they say," said Andrea from New York City, a Rangers' season-ticket holder for over 10 years. "It was so nice to see Ryan Callahan's grandmother, and I love John Tortorella -- I think he's fantastic. He speaks from the heart and seems to trust his team this year. The production is really tremendous, and to see it in this atmosphere with other fans on a gigantic screen the size of the wall in my living room, it's just fantastic."
Fans like Greg from Huntington, N.Y., also had the chance to interact with fellow hockey fans and pick up the latest Winter Classic merchandise while enjoying the event. With this year's Winter Classic less than three weeks away, Greg could not help but admire the production values and exclusive footage showcasing the lives of some of the most prominent figures in professional hockey.
"This was so special. I really wanna thank HBO for taking both Ranger and Flyer fans and really going behind the scenes and showing what everyday life is like in an NHL dressing room and on the road in the NHL," Greg said. "We're gonna have an intense rivalry at the Winter Classic come Jan. 2."