In a season for thanks, Rangers Alumni continue giving
Mark Messier, Mike Richter, Adam Graves, and Brian Leetch give out autographs. Courtesy of Gotham Magazine
November is Thanksgiving month, it’s a time to be grateful for what we have and to be generous to others. Let’s check in with our Rangers alumni and their good guy efforts.
Hockey guys are good guys. They beat each other up, get bruised, break limbs and at the end of the night can look each other in the face and shake hands.
Tough girl Taylor Ryan met Adam Graves through the Garden of Dreams initiative. Courtesy of MSG.
Take Adam Graves. Everyone loves Adam Graves and he is no stranger to helping children. As a child in Toronto, his parents, Henry and Lynda Graves fostered 40 children.
“They always told me, ‘As much as you give, you get.’ I have three kids, and the most important thing for me is to see my kids smile. It should be no different for any other kid.” – said Graves to the New York Times in 2009
Graves is also the recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, in 1994, exemplifying a player’s community service and humanitarian efforts. The Stanley Cup winner also won the NHL Foundation Player Award, in 2000, an award given annually to the player who “applies core values of hockey, commitment and teamwork, to enrich the lives of people in the community.”
(This same award was given to Rick Nash when he was still with the Blue Jackets, in 2009.)
Adam Graves and his family watch his sweater being raised to the Garden rafters. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
However, that same year, Graves, the most good of good guys, already father of two young daughters, Madison and Montana, hit a family tragedy
. His twin sons, Logan and Jaxon were born premature, sending he and wife, Violet, into a tail spin. Twenty-five days later, Jaxon passed away and Rangers fans mourned along with the Graves family.
Adam Graves soldiered on, as many of our boys do, and still is very active in the New York community, visiting children in hospitals through the Garden of Dreams Foundation, famously showing up at almost every charity event.
Brian Leetch, Rangers alumni and Ronald McDonald at a “Skate with the Greats” event. Courtesy of MSG.
Rangers legend Brian Leetch is another one of these good guys too. Since 1994, Leetch has worked effortlessly for the Ronald McDonald House, also partnered up with Garden of Dreams, raising money through the event “Skate with the Greats.”
Last January’s event at Rockefeller Center priced the individual tickets at $500 for adults and $200 for children under 16, bringing over $1 million to the event for the charity.
For 20 years, Leetch alongside fellow Rangers alumni Adam Graves and Rod Gilbert have helped raise over $6 million toward the Ronald McDonald House, giving children, undergoing treatment away from home, the comfort and care they deserve.
Rod Gilbert skates with a few Rangers fans for Dream Week 2012. Courtesy of MSG.
And then there is Rod Gilbert, the third in the trifecta of Rangers good guy. Like Graves and Leetch, he is known for tirelessly attending charity events and working with the children whom he devotes his retirement years to.
Gilbert, 73, is heavily involved in fundraising for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and Ronald McDonald House, as well as Doodle for Hunger for St. Francis Food Pantries, the ALS Association, hosts his own golf outing known as the Rod Gilbert Classic for diabetes research and works alongside fellow Rangers and NHL alumni.
New York Rangers past and present are still making large strides to create outreach in the community, and are committed to remaining the hard working men of their fans even after they have left the ice.
Here are more Rangers Alumni in action: