An 11-year-old hockey fan from Upstate was signed as an honorary coach of the New York Rangers at a ceremony this week.
Bryce Rogerson had an event-filled day at Madison Square Garden as part of Garden of Dreams Week, an annual event hosted by the non-profit organization along with Madison Square Garden Company and MSG Networks, Inc.
At the Garden, Bryce attended a morning skate, where as honorary coach he prepped the rink and rode a Zamboni to clean the ice. He also attended Coach Alain Vigneault’s pre-game press conference.
Bryce developed a love of the Rangers while at New York Presbyterian for heart surgery.
Bryce was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome before he was born and had to undergo fetal intervention surgery on his heart at 26 weeks.
When he was born, he was rushed to a catheterization lab, where he went into respiratory arrest and required CPR. At just 10 days old, he needed his first open heart surgery.
After three open heart surgeries and other procedures, he was placed on a heart transplant list in March 2011. Three years later, at 8 years old, he got the good news that he would receive a new heart.
While heading into surgery he clung to his Henrik Lundqvist jersey for encouragement. Since he got his new heart, he has grown and thrived.
Although he can’t play sports because of his heart surgeries, he is a manager for his school’s football team and continues to cheer on the Rangers.
On Tuesday, Rangers legend Adam Graves signed the contract that made Bryce an honorary coach. He also gave him everything he’d need to succeed at the job.
“Every great coach has to start with a jersey,“ Graves said as he handed over a brand new Rangers jersey.
Bryce also got a whistle, a stopwatch and a board to draw up plays as part of the new job.
Ahead of the game, the 11-year-old visited the Rangers locker room, where he helped Derek Stepan and Dan Girardi prepare. While sitting on the bench during warm ups, he met Rangers players Ryan McDonagh, Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, Kevin Hayes and Brandon Pirrir.
After the Rangers beat the Hurricanes 3-2, he got to meet one of his favorite players, Henrik Lundqvist, along with the rest of the team.
Nice coaching Bryce!