NHL Celebrates 100 Years in Mad Square Park: Stanley Cup, Famous Jerseys, Hockey History on Display!
Reported for the Flatiron Hot! News by Tod Shapiro
On my way into work on Wednesday morning, I spied a small hockey rink right in front of the Flatiron Building by the south end of Mad Square Park. No surprise there – it joins previous sightings of tennis courts (for the U.S. Open); a pint-sized baskeball court (for the NBA All- Star Game) as well as a small football field (to celebrate the Super Bowl) that have appeared at various times as part of promotions that have become ever more frequent, as Flatiron becomes a “must see” part of the city.
It was fitting that on the coldest day of the year, the ultimate cold-weather sport – ice hockey – should be featured in our own Madison Square Park as part of the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s series of marketing events, which help support the operations of the park including its maintenance, beautification, and public programs. The NHL took over the southwest corner of the park and had several interesting pavilions and events going on, all themed to call attention to the 100 years of North America’s premier professional hockey league! Well attended by hockey fans young and old, and warmed by free hot chocolate available as part of the event, it was a welcome diversion for Flatiron denizens on a blustery and cold weekday morning.
There was a small hockey rink set up on the gravel immediately adjacent to Shake Shack, marked by a placard featuring the NHL insignia and that of the home team New York Rangers, with kids energetically participating in street hockey pickup games. There was a small pavilion featuring the Stanley Cup won by our own New York Rangers – their one and only world championship! As a long-time Ranger fan, I had the privilege of saluting the cup and checking out the names of that team’s stalwart group of skaters for that fabled winning season. There was a small pavilion set up with virtual Zambonis (the famous ice-clearing trucks that frequent the ice between periods) where I observed several young children happily at work, clearing fields of virtual ice. And, best of all, there was a small pop-up museum tracing the history of the NHL and of hockey in North America. I went in and saw a time-line showing the history of hockey and original NHL teams, with jerseys, sticks, pucks, and goalie masks down through the ages. There were team photos of the famous Rangers teams through the years, and an explanation of how the NHL had grown and expanded from its original set of 8 teams to the current mega-league of today.
Well worth seeing if you have a chance through Thursday of this week. Happy Birthday, NHL!