Saturday, September 5, 2009

Give Them Free Food, They Will Come

So The Dark Ranger and his Dark Juniors spent the day at the Rangers Fanfest in Tarrytown, NY at the New York Rangers training facility, a free to Season Ticket Holders (that use their Amex cards) event designed to get us excited for the upcoming season.

Prior to our leaving, my 4-year old Dark Junior (pictured below) and I reviewed last year's team program to decide who'd we like to see at the FanFest.  Ironically, most of those players he wanted to see were no longer on the team.  In fact, there were only four or five players listed in the souvenir program that still remain on the team (with the exception of the unconfirmed 'Dubie Bran-Bran').  I know, I know...he'll be signed.  I subsequently attempted to explain that he'd need a PhD to know, let alone pronounce, all the new players on our newly assembled Blueshirt squad, but perhaps his blank look was the result of being only four years old.

Once we arrived, I realized this was an event built around NYR fans with KIDS ONLY - basketball hoops (great for a hockey event), a merchandise shack, liability waiver forms, pickup street hockey rink with plastic hockey sticks, oversized number 9 for obvious Adam Graves pictures later in the day, and plenty of hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and free sponsored drinks galore!  So with kids, I was in luck.  Arriving sharply at 10am, we slowly worked our way into the event and took advantage of everything they had to offer. 

What was a bit surprising were the number of grown-ups without kids, die-hard fans getting face painted!!?  Most of them wearing jerseys, many fans wearing jerseys with their own names on the back (bad, bad form and just not right - though, I could be wrong if anyone's ever heard of 'Rubenstein' as a Ranger).   It was an expected party-planner party with mounds of food, prizes for all and a fan-forum tent where you were treated to Sam Rosen from MSG interviewing the regulars:  Adam Graves, Ron Duguay, and a very different looking Nick Fotiu (than the much younger headshot he was signing for fans).  It was full of the usual questions (SAM:  "So what we're missing is a big Center this do you think the Rangers will compensate for this missing piece.  Is Dubi ready for the job?"  This question was answered by all alumni at the forum with the expected answers on believing in the new Coach Torts system and believing in our youth, yada, yada, yada).   I am one jaded Rangers fan, obviously, as most in the tent seemed to be hearing this garbage for the first time.  Apparently, Mark Messier later showed up for Sam's avant-garde questioning and quickly disappeared before he was savagely assaulted by overstuffed, face-painted jersey wearing adults without kids.

And then there was free food...tons of it -- the least MSG could do for those of us loyal enough to stick around during the 21st Century Depression.  My family ate the equivalent of $455 worth of food at The Garden.  So thank you Mr. Dolan.  We appreciate the give-back.

The training facility opened late at the event - around 3pm - so five hours worth of attendees were disappointed -- and we were all sad not to hit the ice as expected, but....

In my book and overall, the event was pretty awesome if you were one of three things:

1. A huge Rangers Fan (and you stayed past 3pm for the pickup games with Cally and Girardi)
2.  A Kid
3.  Or Father of a Kid.  

As a season ticket holder for almost ten years, I thought the timing was right for this to happen pre-season and I actually commend all of the Garden employees that worked a Saturday to be interested in 'the everyday season ticket holder' - to ask what section I sit in, and how long I've been there...and mostly to thank me for continuing to support the franchise.  I was proud as Father DARK and I was proud of the organization (for once).  Mostly, this event with my kids reminded me how proud I am to be a Rangers Fan.  Thanks guys!

(indulge me with some pictures with my very own Dark Junior at the Ranger FanFest):

 Dark Junior & Ron Duguay doing an impression of Michal Rozsival & Wade Redden. 

Dark Junior & Tyler Arnason in a Death Match playing NHL10

Tyler actually programmed himself on the Rangers' first line.  Dark Junior stole the puck from him a number of times, which in itself, is not a good sign of Tyler actually making the cut this season.  Hello Hartford!

Dark Junior actually said, "Take That Marty! on this shot"

Confused, I told Dark Junior that this is what was left of the NY Knicks...



  1. That's awesome that you and Jr. had a great time. And it is incredible that he kept stripping Arnason.

    Like you said, the FanFest was definitely geared towards the kids ...

  2. I like your recap, We didn't manage to get there until around 2pm, We left our house in PA with all 4 kids around 8:30 am, My wife and I were very impressed with the family environment there as this was our first time attending. Though I didn't get many auto's other than our fav. Adam Graves and a few alum, I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism of the staff, We have a 2 week old baby and with the heat we feared she was just getting a little to warm, The staff had Kelley take her into the facility to cool down. Everyone was very friendly and If anything it made me even more excited for the upcoming season, Here is a link to our photos from the event. Thanks again! Great recap

  3. Thats Great Dark,

    Maybe we should add a "Dark Jr. Hockey dreams Collection" to the sidebar. Home grown Talent and hes already better than Arnason at age 4!!!

    - J

  4. Todd and Kelley -- great photos. I was most impressed with the staff and that they opened the facility for you was 'high road' material in my book. I hope we're all this high two games into October...

    j...Torts did say he was pointing to the youth...not a terrible idea.



This site/blog is not affiliated with the New York Rangers or The National Hockey League in any manner whatsoever. Some photos on this site are used w/out permission but are hosted on the blogger server, therefore not interfering with the profit or bandwidth of the original owner. If you are the owner of a specific image that we have used in our blog , please email me at to have it removed - we will gladly remove it immediately.

If you have a hockey blog/website and would like to place a link on our site, please contact me & we can do a link exchange (the best way to get more traffic to our blogs).

Any offer of 'tickets at cost' is exactly that -- I have season tickets and will sell them for what I paid --- so no mark-ups.

The Dark Ranger is a not-for-profit site, not officially, but we derive no income at all from anything on this site; in fact, DARK at his own expense enjoys the freedom of having no sponsors and speaking his f*cking mind.