Summertime is synonymous with the annual Dream Week hosted by the Garden of Dreams Foundation. For the fifth consecutive year, Garden of Dreams along with the Rangers created a day to remember for 40 children from partner organization SCO Family of Services at the MSG Training Center.
Monday, August 12th kicked off the summer fun with the second half of the day being hosted by Rangers legends Adam Graves and Dave Maloney. MSG Network personality John Giannone was on board to emcee the afternoon “learn to skate” activities which were led by Rangers hockey development staff.
As part of the experience, each child received a personalized Rangers practice jersey prior to lacing up their skates. Once on the ice, the kids enjoyed learning to skate using various simplified skating techniques, tried to balance in sleds with lessons taught by the Wheelchair Sports Federation staff and members of the Rangers sled hockey team, and of course getting skating tips from a few of their hockey heroes Graves and Maloney.
“This is just an absolutely fantastic week that these kids will never forget! All the different activities build camaraderie, self esteem and confidence, but it also builds a smile and we are very fortunate that Garden of Dreams puts this on and these kids can participate," said Adam Graves.
"For many of these kids it’s their first time on the ice, to see them improve over the course of 20 minutes and at the end of the day if you can get a smile on their faces, it’s really good stuff.” Dave Maloney
The remaining days of Dream Week were hosted by the other divisions of The Madison Square Garden Company. The group from SCO Family of Services experienced it all. Their week began with a road trip to the Red Bulls Stadium, hosted by MSG Network where they spent time with Steve Cangialosi, Shep Messing and Red Bull players. They kicked off their Tuesday in the city with MSG Entertainment and a morning with the Rockettes learning a few routines and participating in the annual Christmas in Augustevent outside the Music Hall. After the Radio City Rockettes visit, the group headed up to the MSG Training Center for "Liberty Dream Day", which included a behind-the-scenes tour of the Liberty players' lounge, weight room, training room and locker room.
On Wednesday, the group enjoyed a field day in the morning with outdoor games such as relay races, obstacle course, tug of war and an afternoon hosted by the Knicks. Knicks Head Coach Mike Woodson and Knicks legend Larry Johnson welcomed the group and the children participated in training drills, as well as a behind the scenes tour of the Knicks locker rooms, weight room, training room and classroom.
Thursday was hosted by MSG Sports Properties and Fuse starting with a kick boxing class in the morning learning the rules of the sport including discipline, respect and sportsmanship. In the afternoon, Fuse brought the kids to Broadway in Bryant Park for an outdoor array of performances by Mamma Mia, Motown the Musical, Once and Forever Tango. The group had reserved seats and had an opportunity to meet the Broadway cast members.
Dream Week concluded on Friday with an awards ceremony hosted by some very special Madison Square Garden celebrities including Rangers legend Ron Greschner and Rangers players Derek Dorsett and Rick Nash. The day ended with New York Liberty Garden of Dreams awareness night at the Prudential Center. This is a special night at the Prudential Center for the group to enjoy the Liberty game and participate in special experiences provided by the New York Liberty.
For more information on the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a nonprofit charity that works closely with all areas of The Madison Square Garden Company, including the Rangers, Knicks, Liberty, MSG Entertainment, MSG Networks and Fuse to "make dreams come true for kids facing obstacles," and SCO Family of Services please log onto gardenofdreamsfoundation.org.
Watch Rangers alumni teach children how to ice skate.
View the photo gallery here.