|RANGERS ON DEMAND
|Video Highlights from the Toy Drive ||Watch |
|Rangers fans showed remarkable generosity in donating toys to the U.S. Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program as part of the annual Holiday Toy Drive. |
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The New York Rangers continued a 14-season tradition on Dec. 4, partnering with the United States Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program to conduct the annual Holiday Toy Drive, which was held for the third straight year at The Pond, Bryant Park.
In exchange for an unwrapped gift, fans in attendance had the opportunity to meet, take pictures with, and get autographs from current Rangers Ryan Callahan
, Ryan Hollweg, Marcel Hossa, Paul Mara, Petr Prucha, Jason Strudwick and Stanley Cup Champion Adam Graves.
"This is great," said Rangers forward Hollweg. "It is a chance for us to give back to our fans, the people who support us night in and night out. To be able to help out less fortunate kids feels better than anything. I am just glad we are able to participate. This is my third year doing it, and every year I look forward to doing it."
The Rangers players appeared at the Dec. 4 Toy Drive in three shifts, with Graves on hand throughout the three-hour signing window.
"We get spoiled and accustomed because, especially this time of year, there is not a more giving city or a more giving fan base than Rangers fans," said Graves. "It is a privilege to be able to enjoy events like this no matter what it is. The one consistent thing that takes place at all our events are the smiles, energy, and unabashed support from the fan base."
Hollweg and Hossa were the first to sign, followed by Callahan and Mara in the second group. Prucha and Strudwick closed out the evening.
"The fans are the reason why we're playing," said Mara. "And for them to brave the cold and this weather, to bring some toys for the less fortunate, for us to give some autographs, it's an easy thing to do and its a great way to give back."Hundreds of toys were collected for Toys for Tots, a program whose mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys each year, and distribute them as holiday gifts to needy children in the local community.
"This is a great event," said Rangers Forward Callahan. "It is for the kids, and to be able to give our time to help them, the outcome here so far is unbelievable. To wait out in the cold to bring some toys, it's just a great cause."
In addition to the toy collection that day, fans also had an opportunity to take pictures and skate with Rangers Alumni Ron Duguay, Nick Fotiu and Rod Gilbert at The Pond. There were also a variety of Rangers activities offered including face painting, caricaturists, Santa and The Rangers Road Tour.
The Dec. 4 Toy Drive was such a success that the Rangers will join forces with the Marines and Toys for Tots again on Dec. 18 to collect more toys from fans attending the team's home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins that night.
Fans bringing toys to the Dec. 18 game may drop them off at collection tables in the mall area outside The Garden box office prior to the start of the game and into the first period. Fans donating toys will receive a pre-signed photo card featuring one of several Rangers Alumni.