Dominic Moore and Martin St. Louis have made it easy to cheer for the New York Rangers this postseason with their touching stories. Now some Blueshirts fans are giving people another reason to root for the team.
The Rangers, who are down three games to zero to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final, will be battling for their hockey lives Wednesday night, but that won’t be the most important thing on one fan’s mind at Madison Square Garden.
According to The Star-Ledger, Bobby Ackerman, a Long Island native, wanted to pass on his love of hockey to his newborn daughter, Madison. The first-time father even bought Madison a tiny Henrik Lundqvist jersey soon after she was born in the hopes that she would someday wear it to a Stanley Cup game with him, but tragically, she passed away in April at four months old.
As the Rangers were beginning their postseason run that same week, word began to spread of the sad news. Shawn Revell, who runs the Facebook site called “New York Rangers Memes,” didn’t know Ackerman personally, but he was determined to do something for the grieving father.
“We all just said, ‘We need to do something for this guy,’ ” said Revell. “We agreed if the Rangers made the finals, we were going to find a way to get him there.”
The Rangers went on to defeat the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference finals, and Revell worked on setting up a fund to raise enough money to send Ackerman to a Cup game and purchase him a Rangers jersey with his daughter’s name on it.
Within 24 hours, the page had raised over $1,000, and the money only continued to pour in from fans around the NHL, including some Kings fans. The support was overwhelming, and it was enough to purchase tickets for Game 4 on the date of the two-month anniversary of Madison’s death.
“I still can’t find the words,” Ackerman said. “I’m just your average guy who loves hockey. The hockey community is the best thing in the world. Without it, I don’t know where I’d be right now.”