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Rangers reach out to help local organizations

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
In the midst of a busy NHL schedule, the Rangers organization continued to reach out to the community in January 2007 with numerous events involving Blueshirts players.

In addition to their work on behalf of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the Rangers also helped raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House of New York and the Ice Hockey in Harlem program. In early January, the Blueshirts kicked off the new year with a surprise visit to the Tarrytown (N.Y.) Fire House, located near the Madison Square Garden Training Center.

Skate with the Greats -- Photo Gallery
The 11th Annual "Skate with the Greats" benefit on Jan. 18 at Rockefeller Center was a tremendous success, helping raise more than $1.2 million for Ronald McDonald House of New York, a facility that offers children with cancer and their families shelter and support while they are undergoing treatment.

Since 1978, the Ronald McDonald House of New York has been a home for more than 50,000 children and their families, and this year's "Skate with the Greats" raised more money than any of the previous 10 event - more than doubling what the event brought in a year earlier.

The Rangers teamed up with RMH for a memorable evening at Rockefeller Center. The evening featured 2006-07 players Ryan Hollweg, Jed Ortmeyer, Petr Prucha, Henrik Lundqvist and Darius Kasparaitis and alumni Rod Gilbert, Ron Duguay, Ron Greschner, Pat Hickey, Gilles Villemure and Pete Stemkowski. Rangers television personality Sam Rosen once again served as the "Skate with the Greats" emcee and ran the live auction.

Ice Hockey in Harlem Auction -- Photo Gallery
Only 24 hours before "Skate with the Greats," the Rangers helped co-host Ice Hockey in Harlem's annual Winter Sports Auction at The Garden's Play-by-Play Restaurant on Jan. 17.

The event included autograph signings and a sports memorabilia auction, which brought in more than $60,000 for Ice Hockey in Harlem. Current Rangers at the event included Colton Orr, Kevin Weekes, Adam Hall, Jason Krog, Thomas Pock and Karel Rachunek. These six players were joined by alumni Jeff Beukeboom, Gilles Villemure and Pat Hickey.

The auction item that drew the highest bids was a "Goalies' Collage" featuring signed photos of Rangers goaltenders Ed Giacomin, John Davidson, Mike Richter and Henrik Lundqvist. The two collages up for auction brought in a total of $5,700.

Celebrating its 20th year, Ice Hockey In Harlem is a non-profit community-based organization for youth that uses the sport of hockey to promote academic achievement, responsibility, teamwork and good character. The objective of the organization is to provide inspiration, encouragement and guidance to children, leading to better life experiences, education and career opportunities. Since 1987, Ice Hockey In Harlem has enriched the lives of more than 1000 inner-city boys and girls.

Visit with Tarrytown Firefighters -- Photo Gallery
January's other community outreach event brought players face to face with firefighters from Tarrytown, N.Y. On Jan. 8, Brendan Shanahan, Rachunek, Aaron Ward, Fedor Tyutin and Hall delivered pizza and beverages to the firefighters of Tarrytown, and also helped them wash their trucks.

Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather was also part of the visit, which was a great thrill for the firefighters, who are avid Blueshirts fans. After the truck-washing was completed, the players were all treated to a ride around town and a hose demonstration over a lake.

The players themselves had a great time and truly enjoyed the camraderie with the firefighters. As he left the event, Tyutin remarked that the Fire House visit was one of the most memorable things he had done in the community during his career with the Blueshirts.
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