Friday, February 15, 2008

A Celebration of Hockey in America

This Weekend marks the beginning of hopefully a new annual American Tradition as USA Hockey launches the Hockey Weekend Across America. It is meant to be a combination of a celebration and an opportunity to introduce this great game to those who do not know or understand it.

For us at Prospect Park it is a chance to follow one of the great traditions of ice hockey which is to give back to the sport. Really when you strip everything away hockey is about giving to the next generation.

It is not a sport where you can run out onto a court with a ball or a bat and teach yourself how to play. It is a sport where mentors mean so much as we have discovered in our own travels thought the hockey world.

No matter what level of play you go see whether it is the Juniors, the NHL, the Midgets, the NCAAs, or even the local ice rink's drop in recreation leagues there is always someone teaching someone else about the game willingly. It is done because everyone who plays feels a responsibility to pass that information along so the next generation can learn to play.

Hockey is special because it is not the size of your height but the size of the heart you have that sometimes means the most. Hockey is special because it can take a bunch of strangers from all walks of life friends because of their love for a team called Rangers.

This weekend USA Hockey asks that we join them in helping to celebrate Hockey in America and we can whether it is wearing a jersey to school (or work) on Friday. Show your spirit they tell us and wear a jersey of your favorite team so we of course are digging out our Ranger jersey to wear on Friday but we plan on wearing something Ranger all weekend long.

For Saturday, it will be "Bring a Friend to the Rink Day" where no matter what the event is (an open skate, a youth game or a professional game) do your best to bring a friend to the rink to introduce them to the sport. Hockey live is perhaps the best way to show the sport at it's best but if you can not find a local even then take them somewhere where you can watch a game together and make plans to attend a future event.

On Sunday the theme is Celebrate Your Local Hockey Heroes Day as
it is suggested that you honor your favorite coach, timekeeper, official, player, etc., through a special recognition event. Use the day as a fund-raising effort for you association and just plain show the community what hockey has done for them.

Here is a list of events all over the USA that will be a part of this great weekend. If we get more we will update those lists.

The USHL as a league is supporting this effort as Danny Hobb's Ohio Junior Bluejackets are offering
free admission to all fans wearing a hockey jersey when the Junior Blue Jackets host the Green Bay Gamblers at the Dispatch Ice Haus on Feb. 15 . The puck is set to drop at 9 p.m.

Saturday is “Bring a Friend to the Rink Day.” Come bring a friend and cheer on the Junior Blue Jackets as they face off against the Gamblers again Saturday night. Game time is set for 9:45 p.m.

Game Action

Tomas Zaborsky's 26th goal at 18:40 of the second period turned out to be the game winner as his Saginaw Spirit jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then hung on to defeated the Windsor Spitfires 3-2.

For Zaborsky, it was his 5th game winning goal of the season which leads all Ranger prospects. It was a good start for the Spirit as they are playing 3 games in 4 days trying to get into better position for playoff seeding.

The Spirit are currently 8th in the OHL's Western Conference with 58 points trailing 7th seeded Guelph by 1 point with 15 games left in their regular season.

If we had not seen the game ourselves then we would have wondered if Ryan Hillier had even played but he was there and taking regular shifts as his Halifax Mooseheads defeated the Chicoutimi Saguenéens 4-1. Hillier may not have registered anything on the scoresheet but he was out there taking regular shifts along with his usual penalty killing duties.

Hockey For the Weekend

There will be the usual very busy hockey weekend including Michigan (Carl Hagelin)'s game televised on CSTV starting at 8PM EDT.

Of course we will have our usual coverage for you to keep track of tomorrow's Rangers.

(Hockey Weekend Logo courtesy USA Hockey, Zaborsky picture courtesy of the Saginaw Spirit)

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