On Wednesday, February 6th the Rangers fulfilled the wish of a 14 year-old Rangers fan from Staten Island. Over the summer, Jonathan’s wish was presented to the Garden of Dreams Foundation through the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York. A die-hard Rangers fan, Jonathan’s wish was to meet two of his favorite Rangers, Chris Kreider and Henrik Lundqvist, and with the 2013 regular season underway the Rangers wasted no time in connecting him to his heroes.
|Jonathan celebrates the Rangers' Feb. 7 home victory with Chris Kreider in the locker room. |
Jonathan and his family were hosted by the Rangers for practice on Wednesday February 6th. After being welcomed by Garden of Dreams and Rangers staff, the group was whisked to the Knicks side of the facility for a quick tour before his day with the Rangers would get underway. The family took in practice on the glass watching the Rangers very hard skate following the prior day’s game against New Jersey. After practice, MSG Network’s Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti, ESPN Radio’s Kenny Albert, and Rangers alumnus Dave Maloney spent some time chatting with Jonathan about the Rangers season and his favorite players Kreider and Lundqvist.
While the team went about their post-practice routine, Jonathan and family headed to the cafeteria for lunch. During lunch, President and General Manager Glen Sather welcomed the family to the Training Center, and then Rick Nash presented each member of the family with a Rangers jersey bearing their names. As the players continue to trickle in for lunch, they all stopped by to visit and chat with Jonathan presenting him with Rangers t-shirts, gift bags, and other treats.
The biggest surprises were yet to come as Mark Messier chatted with the family and Lundqvist came by to meet Jonathan and present him with tickets for a suite for the game on February 7th versus the New York Islanders. Jonathan was so excited to go to the game and have a suite to bring friends and family. After seeing a few other players, his other idol Chris Kreider would come in to say hello. As if the experience could not get any better, Coach Tortorella stopped to see the family and invited Jonathan to come to the locker room following the game.
The next day Jonathan, now joined by family and friends, took in the February 7th game versus the Islanders in a catered suite. They received a standing ovation from the Garden crowd when they were introduced during the game. After visits from Rod Gilbert and Brian Leetch, and a 4-1 Rangers victory, Jonathan, Dad, and Grandpa went to the Rangers locker room where Jonathan could catch up with some of his new friends. Decked out in his Kreider jersey and Crown Collection items that he had received the day before, Jonathan congratulated Lundqvist on his victory before touring the locker room and taking a photo in Kreider’s locker. At that time, Kreider came back to the room to see Jonathan and recap the night’s win and Jonathan’s entire experience.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York is one of the Garden of Dreams partner organizations. The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. The Make-A-Wish Foundation is the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 71 chapters across the United States and its territories and 28 international affiliates on five continents.
The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that works with The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) to positively impact the lives of children facing obstacles. Through ongoing programs that use the magic of MSG – including the Knicks, the Rangers, the Liberty, MSG Entertainment, MSG Networks and Fuse – the Foundation develops strong, long-term relationships that truly change lives. Since its inception in September 2006, Garden of Dreams has created thousands of once-in-a-lifetime experiences that have brought joy and happiness to more than 225,000 children and their families, including those facing homelessness, extreme poverty, illness and foster care. For more information, visit gardenofdreamsfoundation.org.