There is a common goal amongst many youth hockey players in the tri-state area. That goal is to make the Pee Wee Rangers team the year of your eligibility. As a youth player, there is no greater honor than to represent the team you have grown up idolizing and possibly one day hope to play for.
General Operations Manager, Veronica Richter observes, "They care about it, and they will work harder than they ever have before to represent the New York Rangers."
This is because it truly is a once in a lifetime experience.
The Pee Wee Rangers compete at the highest level against teams from all over the globe. The highlight of their season is the opportunity to play in the Tournoi International De Hockey Pee-Wee at the Coliseum in Quebec in February of 2015. The tournament, which will be celebrating its 56th year, and final year at the Coliseum, plays host to over 2,000 players from more than 16 countries world-wide. This year, the team will compete in front of a crowd of 10,000 people over the course of two weeks.
The unique experience has each team member staying with a local host family and provides them with the opportunity to experience the culture of Quebec firsthand through various activities off the ice. Before they get to this point though, team members must go through a rigorous tryout that lasts from the beginning of September through most of October. Over 60 kids try out for a team with under 20 spots.
Doug Messier is the General Manager of the team, and is tasked with determining who makes the roster. Tryouts for most players unofficially begin before September while they are attending summer camp.
"All the kids trying to make the team go to summer camp and every time they step on the ice they look at it as a try out," said Richter. "Everyone there is a very strong player."
The team itself is comprised of players from youth teams all over the tri-state area.
Once the team is chosen, players compete not only in the tournament but in exhibition games with other teams all over the country. The team also has the opportunity to practice at the MSG Training Center where the New York Rangers train.
"I am so thankful to be a part of the Pee Wee Rangers program and grateful to the New York Rangers for supporting this program as much as they do," said Richter.
2014-15 Pee Wee Rangers Roster:
1) Gus Bylin
2) Jason Marsella
3) Benjamin Presley
4) Christian Jimenez
5) Jason Wang
6) Victor Czerneckianair
7) Zack Tonelli
8) Hunter Rossi
9) Aidan Cobb
10) Patrick Neal
11) David Chen
12) Jeffrey Lumia
13) Anthony Cipollone
14) Jakub Teply
15) Jack Gorton