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Local youngsters show they've "Got Skills"

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

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A group of 15 local youth hockey players represented the Rangers last month at the Ace's Got Skills National Finals at the Aviator Sports and Recreation Complex in Brooklyn. The event, held June 22-24, gave youngsters a chance to take part in a variety of hockey-skills competitions

The Ace's Got Skills competition is open to all boys and girls ages 9-12. The competition tests skill level in five categories: Hardest Shot, Shooting Accuracy, Shootout, Fastest Skater and Goaltending.

During the 2006-07 season, more than 160 players from the New York area took part in preliminary competitions to reach the National Finals. The 15 national finalists earned their spots by winning regional events at Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers (Oct. 29), Ice Time Sports Complex (Feb. 20), Brewster Ice Arena (March 26) and Staten Island Ice Skating Pavilion (April 18).

The 15 competitors representing the Rangers at the national finals all came from New York State. They were:

Squirts -- Christian Cabal (Lake Grove), Chris Cunnington (Yorkton Heights), Brian Kelly (New York City), Shawn Knowlton (West Point), Brendan Riley (West Point), Scot Rosenthal (Cordtlandt Manor), Christopher Stangarone (White Plains).

Pee Wees -- Nick Belger (Yorktown Heights), Lucas Canino (Highland), Zachary Karle (New York City), Mark Knowlton (West Point), Alex Marino (Central Valley), Dominick Medrzycki (Maspeth), Tyler Paustian (Mahopac), and Michael Pia (Chester).

On the event's final day, Rangers alumni Ron Duguay and Nick Fotiu served as guest coaches during an Eastern Conference vs. West Conference Scrimmage.

Adam Graves, the Rangers' Special Assistant in charge of Prospect and Community Development, was also on hand to present much deserved awards to the representatives from 10 NHL cities competing in the event.).

The Rangers Team at the Ace's Got Skills Nationals.

New York Rangers Results


House Hardest Shot -- Second Place, Chris Cunnington, avg. speed of 41.67 mph
House Accuracy -- Fourth Place, Christian Cabal, 1 point
House Shootout -- Fourth Place, Chris Cunnington, 18 points
Travel Shootout -- Fourth Place, Brian Kelly, 11 points
Travel Accuracy -- Second Place, Shawn Knowlton, 9 points


Travel Fastest Skater -- Second Place, Michael Pia, total time of 40.12 seconds
Travel Hardest Shot -- Fourth Place, Nick Belger, avg. speed of 54.67 mph
Travel Shootout -- Second Place, Mark Knowlton, 21 points
House Goalie -- Fourth Place, Dominick Medzrycki, 75 points

Ace's Got Skills was named in honor of the former NHL player and scout Garnet "Ace" Bailey, who was killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

For more information on the program, visit
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