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Rangers fans honored at regular-season finale

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Although Tuesday night's Rangers game against the Ottawa Senators was charged with intensity due to the Blueshirts' quest for a division title, it was also Fan Appreciation Night, when the team traditionally thanks its fans for their support throughout the season.

Several awards were handed out during the course of the evening, which ended with the traditional "Blueshirts Off Our Backs" ceremony in which Rangers players remove their game-worn jerseys and sign them for lucky fans.

The awards parade began with a pregame tribute, when the Rangers named Jaromir Jagr the 2005-06 winner of the OppenheimerFunds Team Contributor Award. In recognition of the award, Eric Liberman of OppenheimerFunds presented Jagr with a $25,000 donation for the Junior Rangers All-S.T.A.R program.

Prior to the game, the Rangers also honored national anthem singer John Amirante for his 25 years of service to The Garden, where he has sung the anthem for numerous events, including hundreds of Rangers games.

Between the first and second periods, four more awards were handed out. These included the Rangers' Players' Player Award, which went to Kevin Weekes and Jed Ortmeyer. The annual media-voted MVP award went to Jagr, as did the New York Rangers Fan Club's Frank Boucher Trophy for Most Popular Player. The Fan Club also voted goaltender Henrik Lundqvist as its Rookie of the Year.

Also between periods, the Rangers honored five season subscribers and their families celebrating their 50th year with Rangers season tickets. All five (Peter Silverstein, Bill Silberman, James Hands, Evan Dobkins and Angela Sarro) attend Rangers games with tickets continuously held by themselves or their families since 1955 and 1956.

Following the game, the Rangers aired a team tribute video on Gardenvision, and then the highly-anticipated Blueshirts Off Our Backs Ceremony saw 25 jerseys given to fans lucky enough to be randomly chosen from those in attendance. The Rangers' assistant captains, Darius Kasparaitis, Steve Rucchin and Jagr were the last players to remove jerseys for the fans.

All fans attending Tuesday's game also received a 2005-06 Rangers team photo courtesy of Powers Fasteners.
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