The 2016-17 New York Rangers visited the 9/11 Memorial prior to getting their season started right against the Islanders at MSG.
On September 11, 2001, two airplanes struck the twin towers of the World Trade Center in a deadly terrorist attack. It was a tragedy that affected so many families.
New York sports teams were instrumental in helping the city heal. In the first game back following 9/11 at Citi Field, New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza hit a legendary home run that brought the city together. The NFL canceled its Week 2 games before the New York Jets played the Patriots in New England and the New York Giants visited the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sept. 23.
Both local teams paid tribute to the victims and the heroes. Although the New York Rangers were in training camp on 9-11, in their home opener a month later, they honored the victims of 9/11 and the courageous first responders by wearing special hats/helmets.
15 years and 1 month later, the Rangers visited the 9/11 memorial (video above).
Many of the players had never been there. Rangers backup goalie Antti Raanta said, “For some of us it’s our first time being here, and it’s just unreal.” Joe Daniels, the president of the 9/11 memorial, was thankful to have the team pay their respects.
Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh reflected on the importance that sports provided after the tragedy. The captain spoke about how impressed he was that the firemen and NYPD became a unified team:
“It brought a city off their knees,” McDonagh said.
Rangers players spoke about how it’s a privilege to wear the New York jersey and have those words across their chest. The last words the captain said were, “I hope this hits home for many of them, this is something that can bring a team together.”
At the end, the Rangers honored Barry Driscoll, whose father was killed on 9/11. They honored him with an autographed stick and a Rangers jersey. The back of the jersey showed the name “Driscoll” with the numbers 9-11.