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Del Zotto kicks off new youth program

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
VIDEO: Del Zotto at Program's Launch Event

Commissioner Adrian Benepe today joined New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, MSG Sports Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales Howard Jacobs, Vice President for Sales Operations at Coca-Cola Seena Cushman, Rangers Team Nutritionist Cynthia Sass, Rangers alumnus Brian Mullen and Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto to announce “New York Rangers & NYC Parks Youth Street Hockey presented by Live Positively, Coca-Cola,” a new partnership offering a free instructional hockey program to serve 500 New York City youth at Parks’ recreation centers this winter.

Through the 8-week program consisting of free, weekly youth indoor street hockey clinics, children and teens ages 8-16 will be able to learn a great sport and focus on the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition. The announcement was held at Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center in Manhattan. Following the announcement, Michael Del Zotto “dropped the puck” to launch the first clinic of the program and offered hockey instruction for approximately 50 local students from P.S. 126.

“Parks is excited to team up with the New York Rangers and Live Positively, Coca-Cola to launch a new, free indoor street hockey program for New York City youth across the city," said Commissioner Benepe. “The program will teach kids hockey skills, strategies and rules, and emphasize the importance of leading an active, healthy life. Whether kids are hockey novices or have some experience under their belt, these clinics will improve their game. I encourage all kids to visit a recreation center and sign up to participate.”

“I am delighted that we are dropping the puck to begin this free instructional youth hockey program here in my Lower Manhattan Assembly district,” said Speaker Silver. “Regular exercise and a nutritional diet are essential to good health and this is a message we need to instill in all of our young people every day and in every way.  I commend Commissioner Benepe, the New York Rangers, and Coca Cola for establishing this program and for their commitment to the well-being of our children and our community.”

“The New York Rangers are dedicated to establishing community awareness and interest in the sport of hockey through a variety of community programs and events that reach more than 5,500 youth annually," said Jacobs. “We are proud to launch this new street hockey program with NYC Parks & Recreation and presented by Coca-Cola that will introduce the sport of hockey to hundreds of youth and encourage a healthy lifestyle.”

“Coca-Cola is proud to support programs that help to make a positive impact on our communities and to help families find fun ways to lead active, healthy lifestyles,” said Cushman. “Our partnership with Parks & Recreation and the Rangers helps New York City young people to be active and learn about the importance of energy balance in a meaningful and fun way.”

The hockey clinics will focus on introducing youth to the sport of hockey and teaching them the importance of exercising and eating a balanced diet. Sports instruction will focus on individual skills, team participation, and fundamentals of the game such as passing, shooting and stickhandling. All participants will receive an official jersey, Rangers gift bag and basic hockey skills playbook. Nutrition workshops will be offered to participants to learn more about living a healthy, active lifestyle. Participants may walk-in to clinics; no pre-registration is required, each clinic will have a maximum of 50 participants.

Clinics will be held at ten recreation centers throughout the city and will run for eight weeks, starting from today through the end of January.

Hunts Point (765 Manida Street btw Lafayette & Spofford) Saturdays/3:00pm-4:30pm
St. James (East 145th Street & St. Ann's Avenue) Saturdays/11:00am-12:30pm
St. Mary's (East 145th Street & St. Ann's Avenue) Saturdays/3:00pm-4:30pm
Red Hook (155 Bay Street & Henry Street) Saturdays/11:00am-12:30pm
Sunset (7th Avenue & 43rd Street) Saturdays/2:00pm-3:30pm
Alfred E. Smith (80 Catherine Street off Cherry Street) Wednesdays/ 4:00pm-6:00pm
Chelsea (430 West 25th Street btw 9th & 10th Avenue) Saturdays/ 11:00am-1:00pm
Tony Dapolito (1 Clarkson Street & 7th Avenue) Tuesdays/ 4:00pm-5:30pm
Al Oerter (134-40 Fowler Avenue) Wednesdays/6:00pm -7:00pm
Lost Battalion Hall (93-29 Queens Blvd. & 62nd Avenue) Wednesdays/5:00pm-6:00pm

The program will offer individual awards and trophies for “Best Attendance” and “MVP” to encourage youth participation. The program will culminate in a final “showcase” where youth from all different boroughs will get to test their skills against each other in an outdoor tournament featuring special appearances by Rangers alumni. In addition, select youth participants may be awarded a free trip to a New York Rangers home game in February.

About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola®, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, the Company’s portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke®, Fanta®, Sprite®, Coca-Cola Zero®, vitaminwater®, Powerade®, Minute Maid®, Simply® and Georgia®. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate of 1.6 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at

About Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden is a fully-integrated sports, entertainment and media business. The company is comprised of three business segments: MSG Sports, MSG Entertainment and MSG Media, which are strategically aligned to work together to drive MSG’s overall business, which is built on a foundation of iconic venues and compelling content that MSG creates, produces, presents and/or distributes through its programming networks and other media assets. MSG Sports consists of owning and operating sports franchises, including the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL), the New York Liberty (WNBA), and the Connecticut Whale (AHL). MSG Sports also features other sports properties, including the presentation of a wide variety of live sporting events including professional boxing, college basketball, track and field and tennis.  MSG Entertainment is one of the country’s leaders in live entertainment.  MSG Entertainment creates, produces and/or presents a variety of live productions, including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes, throughout the country.  MSG Entertainment also presents or hosts other live entertainment events such as concerts, family shows and special events in MSG’s diverse collection of venues.  These venues include Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre, the Chicago Theatre and the Wang Theatre.  MSG Media is a leader in production and content development for multiple distribution platforms, including content originating from MSG’s venues.  MSG Media consists of the MSG Networks (MSG, MSG Plus, MSG HD and MSG Plus HD) regional sports networks and the Fuse Networks (Fuse and Fuse HD), a national television network dedicated to music.  MSG Media is also responsible for managing interactive initiatives across all business segments.  More information is available at

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