On Tuesday, September 15th, the New York Rangers and Garden of Dreams Foundation celebrated the start of the 2009-10 Rangers' season by hosting the 3rd Annual Rangers Launch Party at Madison Square Garden. The guest list for the celebration included 250 children and families from eight Garden of Dreams partner organizations including Children's Aid Society, Harlem Dowling, Loisaida, SCO Family of Services, the Life Center, Children's Village, WHEDCo, and NYPD Widow’s and Children’s Fund.
|Former Rangers star Brian Mullen offers hockey tips to a youngster attending the 2009-10 Rangers-Garden of Dreams Launch Party on Sept. 15. |
• MORE PHOTOS
Prior to the game vs. Boston, the children joined Rangers alumni Nick Fotiu, Rod Gilbert, Adam Graves, and Brian Mullen for dinner, music, and interactive games.
Fotiu, the first native New Yorker to play for the Rangers, was excited to be a part of the season kickoff celebration.
“Coming to a Rangers game alone is special, but having this beforehand is really great and adds that little extra for the children,” he said. “Seeing them happy makes me glad to be a part of it.”
After receiving a Rangers cap and their own camera upon entering the party, the kids dispersed on the club terrace. Many went straight to the bubble hockey and air hockey stations; others gravitated towards the Rangers slap shot booth or the pop-a-shot basketball station.
“I always feel privileged to be a part of events like this with the Garden of Dreams Foundation,” Rangers all-time leading scorer, Rod Gilbert said. “This night was all about the children.”
In between eating their dinner, the children lined up around the video games and carnival booths for a wide variety of activities. Many children competed as the Rangers in NHL video games and future idols stepped up to play Rock Band, while others battled Fotiu and Gilbert in air hockey. Face painters were putting the best disguises on the kids and no party would be complete without dancing as children flooded the dance floor.
Upon the conclusion of the party, each child received a box of popcorn and cotton candy before heading to the arena to cheer on the Blueshirts in their first preseason game of the 2009-10 season.
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