On Thursday, October 23, 2003, New York Rangers Joel Bouchard, Dan LaCouture, Jamie Lundmark and Dale Purinton traded in their sticks and skates and President, General Manager and Head Coach Glen Sather turned in his lineup card in exchange for shovels and screwdrivers as they helped build a 2,950 square foot playground in the Ridgewood-Bushwick section of Brooklyn.
After a fast-paced six hours of work, community volunteers, members of the Rangers organization and KaBOOM! as well as Home Depot associates transformed a vacant lot on Jefferson Street in Brooklyn into a new playground for the Ridgewood-Buschwick Senior Citizens Council (RBSCC).
The colorful playground design, which incorporates the Rangers’ red, white and blue colors and multiple team logos, is based on drawings by the children who are served by the RBSCC’s services. The children recently participated in ‘Design Day’ where they had the opportunity to draw their dream playground, while also discussing playground safety.
"It's always a lot of fun to get involved in a project like this," said Purinton, who along with LaCouture helped secure a slide into the ground. “It's really nice to see all these people coming together, especially for the kids."
KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that creates healthy play opportunities by bringing together communities and business to build safe playgrounds for children, works to develop effective partnerships that bring resources and people together to provide children with safe and accessible places to play.
“The private sector, the New York Rangers, the Brooklyn community and nonprofits came together on this project to make it a huge success,” said RBSCC program director Angela Battaglia. “Today, we put into action what so many of us knew personally … if we work together, we will not only succeed at raising wonderful children, but a wonderful neighborhood as well.”
Also in attendance to lend a helping hand in this special project were Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and New York State Senator John Sampson.