The Rangers organization and the Garden of Dreams Foundation teamed up earlier this month to host a special pizza party for approximately 22 children at the Rusk Institute at NYU Medical Center.
The event, held on Jan. 8, featured a special surprise for the children. Although they knew about the Garden of Dreams party, they did not know that Rangers players Matt Cullen, Thomas Pock, Petr Prucha and Marcel Hossa would be dropping in on them while they ate their pizza. Needless to say, the surprise of seeing the Rangers players in person was a tremendous thrill.
After introducing themselves, the players gave one-on-one attention to each child, answering questions and making small talk. Once the pizza was gone, it was time for hockey -- as the room was cleared out so the players could perform a hockey demonstration.
Prucha jumped at the opportunity to play goalie in the demonstration, and after a few shots and pointers from Cullen, Hossa, and Pock, the players handed off their sticks to the children, who took their best shots on goal. The Rangers cheered on the children and encouraged them as they took shots on Prucha.
Garden of Dreams gift bags and autographs were distributed to the children at the end of the visit, but the children also had gifts for the players. Each player got to take home with them posters made by the children that were part of a huge sign hung on the wall to welcome the Rangers and Garden of Dreams to RUSK.
Also this month, Garden of Dreams teamed up with a group of the Rangers players' wives and girlfriends to host another pizza party and Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center on Jan. 19.
Approximately 10 women played games with the children, worked on arts and crafts projects, colored pictures, delivered pizza to children and parents who could not leave their rooms, painted manuals and shared laughs. At the conclusion of the visit, the group received a tour of the children's hospital "neighborhoods."
Look for an upcoming photo gallery from this visit on newyorkrangers.com.