Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Heritage - One Man's Past is Another Man's Present
This season marks the 85th anniversary of our beloved New York Rangers. Born to battle local rivals (then Americans, now Devils, Islanders, Sabres, and Flyers), the Rangers made their way through a world war and a league lockout to become the marvel of mediocrity that we’ve all known since ’94.
Reflecting on the team’s history got me thinking about the current team’s heritage. Who are these guys? Where do they come from? What does their heritage say about them? Since I’m such an esteemed student of history, I knew exactly what I needed to do to find out; I did thorough research, distributed questionnaires to players and their families, interviewed their childhood friends, and nearly got myself kicked out of Kiev. I’ve compiled my findings into a short report, excerpts of which you’ll find below. Enjoy!
Michael Del Zotto – Heritage Profile
Hometown: Stouffville, Ontario. Known as an extremely charitable community, Stouffville instills a commitment to giving that extends well beyond the traditional holidays. Michael has taken that tradition to heart this year by giving up the puck at least three times a game.
Childhood Notes: Del Zotto played on a youth team that also featured future NHLer Steven Stamkos. The two remain best friends to this day, though Stamkos did note that, “It’s getting tougher now for Mike, with me being so great and all. I can’t deny that my sick nasty skills and subsequent fame have caused a bit of stress in our relationship.”
Artem Anisimov – Heritage Profile
Hometown: Yaroslavl, Russia. Less than 200 miles from Moscow, this historically rich Russian city is now a major center for industry. Despite its focus on modern production, Yaroslavl remains true to its Russian roots through its ornate churches and liquor stores that exclusively sell vodka.
Childhood Notes: Not much is known about this quiet giant from the East. I couldn’t find much information on Artem, but since he’s Russian, I’m going to assume that his parents were kidnapped by the KGB and he was forced into a sports factory at age 6 where he played hockey every minute of every day. Hey, it worked out well for us Ranger fans.
Brian Boyle – Heritage Profile
Hometown: Hingham, Mass. Though born in Hingham, Brian was bred at St. Sebastian’s School for Boys in Needham. It was here that Brian undoubtedly learned all the creepy social tendencies that make him such an awful wing man at bars.
Childhood Notes: Brian is the seventh child out of thirteen, and one of eight Boyle boys. When asked about the struggles of parenting such a large family, Judy Boyle responded by saying, “We just prayed to God that we’d have everything we needed to get by and be happy. We never did get that reality TV show, but I’m not giving up hope.”
Matt Gilroy – Heritage Profile
Hometown: North Bellmore, New York. Located on the south shore of Long Island, Bellmore is a mere half an hour from New York City. This proximity to Madison Square Garden makes it easy for friends and family to come see Matt at work. Unfortunately for them, chances to watch him actually play hockey will be few and far between, as Matt will spend 90% of his season picking his nose in the press box.
Childhood Notes: Matt’s father, Frank, is a member of the St. John’s Basketball Hall of Fame and was even drafted into the NBA by the Philadelphia 76ers. After realizing that white guys can’t make it in the NBA, Frank decided it would be best if his kids avoided racial competition all together… so he signed them up for hockey.
Henrik Lundqvist – Heritage Profile
Hometown: Are, Sweden. This region of Sweden has been a border battleground throughout its history, swapping its allegiance between Norway and Sweden over ten times during the sixteenth century. Thankfully, Henrik knows better than to switch sides on New York City. After signing his name to a six-year contract with the Rangers in 2008, Henrik added a post script that read. “Fuck the Devils”.
Childhood Notes: One practice, when Henrik was still very young, the coach asked if anyone wanted to be a goaltender. Henrik’s twin brother Joel grabbed and raised Henrik's arm and said “I would!” Henrik responded to his brother by prophetically stating, “No matter what position I play, I’m still going to be ten times better and ten times better looking than you’ll ever be.”
Sean Avery – Heritage Profile
Hometown: North York, Ontario. Despite being known as an accepting community that appreciates personal diversity, North York recently apologized for creating the monster we all know as Sean Avery.
Childhood Notes: Sean Avery’s obsession with fashion began at an early age, when he would steal dolls from his babysitter and play dress-up fashion-show with them (no joke, absolutely true). Parents – you know your son is different when he plays with Barbies as a child and does anything other than take their clothes off and simulate sex acts.
Chris Drury – Heritage Profile
Hometown: Trumball, Connecticut. Located in my home county, Trumball is known for being nowhere near anything remotely interesting. It is often ranked in ‘Top 100 Places To Live’ lists for its ability to avoid excitement entirely.
Childhood Notes: Chris has been dealing with fame since winning the Little League World Series in 1989. Since then, he has won state championships in high school hockey, national championships in college hockey, the Hobey Baker Award, the Calder Trophy and the Stanley Cup. Since signing with the Rangers in 2007, Drury has won absolutely nothing. This is New York City, Chris. We don’t care what you’ve done, we only care what you’ve done for us lately.
Well, that’s it for this edition of ’94 Parade. I hope you all enjoyed the post. I’ll leave you with another New York Ranger Haiku entitled, “New Heritage Jersey Debuts Tonight, but We Used to Have the Best Third Jersey in all of Hockey”.
Missing in action since May,