Madison Square Garden was filled with electricity and pride Sunday night during pre-game ceremonies that honored the brave men and women who have devoted their relentless time and energy towards relief and rescue efforts surrounding the September 11 tragedy at the World Trade Center.
The stirring 30-minute tribute began with New York City Police and Fire hockey teams skating onto the ice to form a tunnel for the 2001-02 Rangers to skate through during their introductions. After both teams were announced, Fire Department team captain Larry McGee (Engine 66 in the Bronx) skated over to Blueshirt captain Mark Messier and presented him with the fire helmet of FDNY Chief of Special Operations Command Ray Downey, who has been missing since the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
A video tribute was then followed by the introduction of some of New York's true heroes - five men who were directly affected by the attack (Port Authority Canine Unit officer David Lim, Local 40 ironworker Gene Flood, Local 14 operating engineer Robert Gray, Ladder 24 firefighter Brian Thomas and NYPD Emergency Services officer Lt. John Murphy).
Messier then spoke to the packed Garden crowd and pledged that the Rangers would dedicate this season to the emergency workers of New York City.
"We dedicate this entire season, from the top of the organization on down, to you."