Rangers Assist Supported by Chase kicked off the celebration of its first completed project for the 2014-15 season at Riverbank State Park the evening of December 10th. Fans and community members braved the snow and cold temperatures to come and support their local youth hockey program and NY State Parks facility as they unveiled the donations received from the New York Rangers and Chase Bank.
The donation project consisted of an off-ice training zone, portable boards that allow the ice to be broken up into sections to make room for more kids, and a tent to be used as auxiliary locker room space. All of the donations were highlighted at the event. The locker room area was used by kids and coaches playing on the ice, the portable boards were put into place during the cross-ice jamboree, and the training zone was set up on the terrace for fans to check out. All of these elements are designed to help Riverbank Youth Hockey become more efficient as the program grows each year.
The night kicked off with a Try Hockey For Free session that allowed local children with little to no playing experience, the chance to learn the game from current NY Rangers Kevin Hayes and Matt Hunwick. Hayes said of the event, “This is awesome being able to skate with these young guys and give back to the community.” Over 100 children registered to partake in the experience that teaches beginners everything from how to skate, to stick handling. Following Try Hockey for Free, the portable dashers were highlighted during a cross-ice jamboree for Riverbank’s mites and squirts. Three games were held simultaneously on the ice as a way to showcase the Riverbank program.
The final part of the celebration was an exhibition game featuring six New York Rangers alumni and coaches and parents from the Riverbank Youth Hockey community. Rangers alumni Ron Duguay, Brian Mullen, Stephane Matteau, Ed Hospodar, and Mark Janssens took the ice with their assigned teammates from Riverbank while Ron Greschner stepped in as coach.
The Riverbank pee wee team played a short game during the alumni game intermission, and Stephane Matteau and Brian Mullen stayed on the ice and filled in as goalies. When of the pee wees managed to get the puck past Matteau, he jokingly dropped his gloves and challenged the player to “try that again.” The intermission game became one of the highlights of the night between Matteau’s on ice antics and Mullen’s acrobatics in the net.
As the evening came to a close the total donations were tallied. Between the boards, the training zone, the tent, and the sales numbers from tickets, raffles and silent auctions, the donation totaled to upwards of $30,000.00. All of the proceeds go to the Riverbank Youth Hockey program.
To learn more about Rangers Assist visit www.newyorkrangers.com/assist