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Last Wednesday night in New York City was a historic evening for the hockey fan in me. I was able to walk through the storied doors of Madison Square Garden for the first time.  The Rangers hosted the Predators, but fell 2-1 in a goalie duel showcasing Nashville’s Dan Ellis outlasting New York’s Henrik Lundqvist.

Center ice - Madison Square Garden

The blizzard that hammered the East Coast played a big role in the evening, keeping most of the seats empty. We lucked out by only getting about 9-inches of snow, but it was enough to make travel difficult for anyone coming from outside the city. The weather and sparse crowd wasn’t able to dampen my excitement for seeing the “World’s Most Famous Arena.”

MSG/Rangers vs. Predators Flickr photo gallery

Taken directly from the Madison Square Garden web site:

The current Madison Square Garden is actually the 4th building to be called Madison Square Garden. The opening event was held on February 11, 1968 with a gala salute to the USO starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Over the last 4 decades, MSG has hosted tens of thousands of world-class events.

The sports history under the venue name runs deep. The Rangers started play at MSG as an expansion team, and one of the NHL’s Original Six in 1926. The rafters boast 4 Stanley Cup Championship banners, most recently from 1994, and 9 retired jerseys, including captain Mark Messier’s #11. There are also banners and retired jerseys celebrating the NBA’s New York Knicks, St. John’s University and the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

I am grateful for my college friend Jocelyn, who managed to get tickets at the last-minute. Being able to share my first event at MSG with her and her husband Ben, was special. Thank you both very much.

Even though the Washington Capitals were not able to make history that evening, losing to the Montreal Canadians 6-5 in overtime and ending their 14-game win streak, I was still able to soak in an incredible rite of passage as a hockey fan, experiencing the atmosphere of such a historic venue in American culture.

Additional related media:

Mores historic information from the Rangers official web site