This season, the New York Rangers and Garden of Dreams Foundation held year two of the Rangers and Garden of Dreams Power Players program. The introductory street hockey program kicked off its 2012-13 sessions in November with a series of launch events featuring Rangers staff and alumni Nick Fotiu, Dave Maloney, and Brian Mullen. Throughout the eight week program, the instruction was based upon six values: Commitment, Excellence, Fun, Respect, Responsibility and Teamwork. At each weekly clinic, one value was stressed by the Rangers’ Hockey Development instructors to help reinforce important life lessons that the children may have learned previously at home or in the classroom.
The culmination of the program was a round robin tournament between the three Garden of Dreams partner organizations, Children’s Aid Society, Harlem Dowling and WHEDco held on January 18th. The tournament would be the first time that the participants could showcase the skills that they’ve honed over the prior weeks of instruction. On hand to give final tips and lend support for the games of the tournament were Rangers alumni Rod Gilbert, Adam Graves, and Ron Greschner.
“This was so much fun to see the kids really love playing the game”, said Gilbert. “They were smiling the entire time, it’s something they might not have had the chance to do without the program.”
With a two rink set up in the WHEDco gymnasium, the 110 Power Players (first year participants) and Selects (second year participants), played a round-robin style tournament against all of the teams to kick off the event. After the series of games had completed, the children retreated to the bleachers for a much needed water break in anticipation of the award ceremony. Rangers public address announcer Joe Tolleson led the award ceremony and congratulated the children for completing the program. As a part of the ceremony, all of the children’s’ names were announced while they each lined up to meet the Rangers alumni and receive their awards, which included a certificate of completion, photo plaque, personalized Rangers jersey, medal, and more. “For the kids, they came away with a ton of Rangers items, but most of all they appreciated the playing the game,” said Greschner. “You could see they were having a great time, it’s a great program.”
Children’s Aid Society is one of the Garden of Dreams partner organizations. For 150 Years, the Children’s Aid Society has had a single mission: to do whatever New York City’s neediest children need. Its goal is to ensure the physical and emotional well being of children and families, and to provide every child with the support and opportunities needed to become a happy, healthy and successful adult. They provide services for every aspect of a child’s life, from infancy through adolescence, and include education, health, counseling, adoption and foster care, career readiness, arts and recreation, and emergency assistance.
Harlem Dowling is one of the Garden of Dreams partner organizations. As a not-for-profit child welfare agency, the mission of the Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Children and Family Services is to serve and assist children and their families in crises and distress. Among the services that Harlem Dowling provides are: foster care, adoption, preventative services, and related assistance to children and their families to enable them to live in a stable and nurturing environment.
WHEDco is one of the Garden of Dreams partner organizations. WHEDco works with families in the Bronx who struggle with the multiple challenges presented by poverty, and who, like all of us, aspire to a healthy, financially stable future. WHEDco offers interconnected, innovative, and high quality solutions – including the building of healthy, affordable homes – and because of this, the Bronx is a more beautiful, more equitable, and more economically vibrant place to live and raise a family.
The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that works with The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) to positively impact the lives of children facing obstacles. Through ongoing programs that use the magic of MSG – including the Knicks, the Rangers, the Liberty, MSG Entertainment, MSG Networks and Fuse – the Foundation develops strong, long-term relationships that truly change lives.
Since its inception in September 2006, Garden of Dreams has created thousands of once-in-a-lifetime experiences that have brought joy and happiness to more than 225,000 children and their families, including those facing homelessness, extreme poverty, illness and foster care. For more information, visit www.GardenofDreamsFoundation.org
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