Lundqvist bus opens doors to fans
Rangers goaltender recognized in Gray Line New York's "Ride of Fame"
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|Lundqvist Unveils His "Ride of Fame" Bus||Watch|
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Baseball's Reggie Jackson was famous for saying that if he ever played in New York, someone would name a candy bar after him.
On Tuesday, hockey's Henrik Lundqvist put the old Reggie Bar to shame, as the Rangers' All-Star netminder's accomplishments were recognized with something much, much bigger -- a double-decker Gray Line sight-seeing bus.
Lundqvist joined a group of Rangers fans that included winners of an online sweepstakes Tuesday afternoon to help Gray Line unveil its new Lundqvist bus -- part of the company's "Ride of Fame" campaign that honors New York celebrities.
|Henrik Lundqvist said he was very honored that Gray Line New York made him part of its "Ride of Fame" by choosing his image to appear on a sight-seeing bus. Other "Ride of Fame" members include Donald Trump, Whoopi Goldberg, and Rachael Ray.
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Asked if he ever thought he might one day have a bus named after him when he arrived at his first Rangers training camp five years ago, Lundqvist chuckled.
"It (being on a bus) wasn't my main goal when first I moved to New York, but it's definitely a great honor," he said.
Lundqvist was particularly pleased to be part of the "Ride of Fame" because of Gray Line's ongoing work with the Garden of Dreams Foundation, which helps kids in crisis. Throughout each year, youngsters from Garden of Dreams' partner charities get a chance to tour the city with various athletes and celebrities. Lundqvist is the official spokesman for Garden of Dreams.
After the unveiling, Lundqvist boarded his bus along with several fans. Winners of a Rangers online sweepstakes were among those who got a chance to meet Lundqvist and receive his autograph during the bus' inaugural lap around The Garden. The winners gained their seats by entering the sweepstakes via Twitter, Facebook, the Rangers Mobile Club, and newyorkrangers.com.
"I was super-pumped and excited when I found out I won. It's a huge honor," said Jon Stillwell, a Minnesota native who recently moved to New York. "I grew up with hockey, so to be able to meet someone like Henrik Lundqvist is a complete honor. He's one of my favorite players of all-time. Growing up, you idolize people like Henrik. It's awesome what they're doing for him."
Stillwell, who entered the sweepstakes via Twitter, said he was completely surprised to be chosen for the bus ride -- a sentiment echoed by lifelong Rangers fan Gene Golebiewski, who has been a Season Subscriber for the past 19 years.
"It (winning) was very much a surprise," said Golebiewski. "Not in a million years did I think I would be on a bus with Henrik Lundqvist. I'm big on defense, and I kind of steer toward watching the defense and goalies, and he is a great goalie."
Perhaps the happiest person on the bus was Danny Lavarco, a young Rangers fan celebrating his birthday on Tuesday. Levarco, who has followed the Blueshirts since the 1993-94 championship season, had entered the sweepstakes on Twitter.
"It's the best feeling ever to be able to meet Henrik Lundqvist, one of my favorite Rangers of all time," said Lavarco. "It was an honor to wake up and have a message in my in-box saying 'Come hang out with Henrik.'"