On Monday, September 22, the New York Rangers and Garden of Dreams Foundation celebrated the start of the 2008-09 Rangers' season by hosting the 2nd Annual Rangers Launch Party at MSG for 250 children and families from six Garden of Dreams partner organizations including the Children's Aid Society, Harlem Dowling, Loisaida, SCO Family of Services, the Life Center, and Children's Village.
|Rangers alum Ron Duguay has taken a more active role in the team's community outreach in recent years. |
Prior to the game vs. Ottawa, children filed into the WaMu Theater Lobby for dinner, music and interactive games with Rangers Alumni Rod Gilbert, Ron Duguay, and Brian Mullen as well as MSG Media personalities Sam Rosen, Joe Micheletti, John Giannone and Dave Maloney.
Gilbert, who owns the Rangers career scoring record, was happy to be a part of the season launch party.
"It's always a privilege for me to participate in events like this with the Garden of Dreams Foundation," he said. "Seeing the children's faces light up with excitement ... That's what it's all about."
After getting a gift bag upon entering the party, kids lined up for photos with Rangers alumni and gravitated towards the Rangers Slap Shot Booth and an inflatable basketball game.
"It's great to see kids excited about coming to a hockey game," Ron Duguay explained. "I am glad that I was able to help put smiles on their faces. I was out there playing games and dancing, and having a good time too, I was the biggest kid out there!"
Children lined up around the air hockey and bubble hockey tables while balloon sculptors created balloon hats and animals in Rangers red, white, and blue for everyone in attendance. In addition, children showed their Rangers support at an arts & crafts table by creating "Go Rangers" posters and many had their faces painted in preparation for the game.
Upon conclusion of the party, each child received a box of popcorn and cotton candy before heading to the arena to cheer the Blueshirts on to a 2-1 victory over the Senators.
For more information on the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit charity that works closely with all areas of Madison Square Garden, including the Rangers, Knicks, Liberty, MSG Entertainment, MSG Media and fuse to "make dreams come true for kids in crisis," please log onto gardenofdreamsfoundation.org
.Contributions to story from the Garden of Dreams Foundation