Friday, September 11, 2009
I just got back from two wonderful days with the New York Rangers alumni in White Plains, NY. We held our annual members meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and needless to say it was just awesome to be there! The players that were present, was basically a “Who’s Who” of former Rangers. Nick Fotiu, Ron Greschner, Andre Dore, Rod Gilbert, Eddie Mio, Pat Hickey, Ed Hospodar, Kelly Kisio, Dave Maloney, Brian Mullen, Brad Park, Pete Stemkowski, Steve Vickers, Gilles Villemure, and yours truly.
We discussed many things that were happening with the Rangers Alumni, treasurer’s report, updates, and the NHL Alumni itself. However, the best part of the night was the presence of Head Coach John Tortorella at the meeting to give us an update on this year’s New York Rangers team. Torts was just fantastic. He talked about everything- Gaborik, Brashear, who’s going to fill in the defense this year, what he want’s from his team, how the best players will play the most, etc. He didn’t shy away from some of our questions and he answered everyone. I was really taken by the admiration he has for the former Rangers and old time hockey players. John simply stated that we, who played before, played in an era that he called, “When hockey was hockey”. I was personally thankful for the recognition he gives for the past history of our great game and I think all of us in that room got a little bit of a boost from listening to John. What I also got from Tortorella’s talk was that this Rangers team will be in shape. They will be on the attack and he promised they will be ready to go on opening night in Pittsburgh.
The next day we played in the New York Rangers Golf Classic at the Westchester Golf and Country Club (My group and I finished in 2nd place, not too shabby). As usual, the Rangers spared no expense and the night was capped off with the Rangers Alumni honoring two of New York’s own- Nick Fotiu and Brian Mullen. Let me tell you, it went perfect! Sam Rosen mc’d the event and every player, past or present, took a bow. The best, however, was saved for Nicky and Brian. Both defied the odds and proved that if you want it bad enough, you can succeed. I have a special fondness for Nick Fotiu. He was a teammate of mine, a good friend, and better still- just a good person. Congratulations to both of the honorees, you earned it!
On a personal note, it was great to see some of my former teammates like Steve Vickers and Ron Greschner again. And, I can’t tell a lie, we did break curfew both nights. I guess we will have to pay the fine! Over and out!