Staal, Rangers help to grow the game
$15,000 worth of hockey equipment donated to four local youth programs
|RANGERS ON DEMAND
|Staal Presents Equipment to Youth Organizations||Watch|
• Staal Recalls His Journey to NHL
• More on Local Youth Hockey
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
On Wednesday afternoon at the MSG Training Center, Rangers defenseman Marc Staal met with several youth hockey players and coaches, fulfilling a promise he had made three years ago.
When Staal and his brothers Eric and Jordan were approached by Bauer Hockey to use the company’s equipment three years ago, the brothers agreed to do so under one condition: that each year Bauer and one of the Staals would donate brand-new equipment to youth hockey programs in each of their respective three NHL areas.
Eric was the first to fulfill his promise in Raleigh. Last year, Jordan did the same in Pittsburgh.
|Rangers defenseman Marc Staal poses with a youngster who plays hockey at the Ice Time Sports Complex in Newburgh, N.Y., on Wednesday at the MSG Training Center after Staal and the Rangers donated $15,000 in Bauer hockey equipment to Ice Time and three other local youth hockey programs.|
“I am very lucky to be able to do it,” said Staal. “It’s not a cheap sport to play, and if this helps someone to be able to play the game then that’s kind of the goal here.”
Staal greeted players and coaches representing the four youth hockey programs, posed for pictures, and signed autographs. More important, he officially presented $3,750 worth of equipment to each group.
“It was great to see all the kids’ eyes light up when they saw that brand-new equipment,” said Staal, 23. “I remember how that feels -- obviously not walking into a big mountain of equipment like these kids today -- but knowing that you are going to be trying some new stuff out and get out on the ice. It’s pretty cool.”
By simply playing for the Rangers, Staal is aware that he is helping grow the sport among kids both in New York and throughout the United States. But by helping to donate actual equipment to youngsters, he is helping grow the game in a much more tangible way.
“By donating this equipment, maybe we are giving a kid who wasn’t going to play, or the parents thought it was too expensive, the opportunity to play, and then maybe they will love it and keep playing and go on from there,” said Staal, who was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. “The opportunity to do that here in New York is great. To be able to build the game at all, anywhere really, is awesome.”
After the youth players and coaches left the rink with their new equipment, Staal reflected on how good it felt to give back to the community.
“Just seeing the smiles and how happy the kids were is great,” said Staal. “Each one of them said thank you to me, and that’s a pretty cool feeling to see how appreciative they were.”