Madison Square Garden, North Plaza
Seventh Ave. at 33rd St.
April 26 (12 noon - 6:00 pm), 27 (9:00 - 11:30 am), 29 (5:00 - 10:00 pm), 30* (2:00 - 6:30 pm, if necessary), free
rangerstown hockey house slideshow
For the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, Madison Square Garden has transformed its North Plaza into Rangerstown Hockey House, a family-friendly interactive free festival of the only sport that matters. After signing a waiver (in which you must divulge various pieces of personal information) and getting patted down and wanded — really, MSG? At least they didn’t make us take off our hat and empty our pockets this time, like they do before hockey games — fans enter a space where they can participate in various skill contests, including stickhandling and accuracy shooting; get Rangers colors and logos shaved or stenciled into their hair as part of the charity Beard-a-Thon; check out historical memorabilia (Wayne Gretzky stuff next to Jay Wells’s!); win free merch; and take photos in a mini-locker room wearing the Broadway hat. Away games are broadcast on several flat-screen monitors and a large projection screen, with commercials superseded by a DJ. Former Rangers are on hand to offer pointers, sign autographs, and take part in between-periods interviews. On Friday night we chatted with Glenn Anderson and Brian Mullen; on April 26, Ron Duguay and Pete Stemkowski will be on hand from 12 noon to 3:00, followed by Jeff Beukeboom and Nick Fotiu from 3:00 to 6:00. Sunday morning will feature Adam Graves, Ron Greschner, and Anderson. The event will continue as long as the Blueshirts remain in postseason action; they are currently tied at two games apiece against the much-loathed Broad Street Bullies, with game 5 scheduled for April 27 at 12 noon at the Garden and game 6 taking place Tuesday night in Philly.