Operation Hat Trick benefit game a rousing success, sequel to be played in Central Park?

12:46 PM

In this ever maddening world of locked out NHL hockey, any chance to attend a live game fills the crushed hockey fan's void for pro style dangles snipes and celly's.  There was all of that and more in Atlantic City on Saturday night as team Richards defeated Team Hartnell 10-6 in an effort to aid those who lost so much in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.  The event, which benefitted the Empire State Relief Fund, the New Jersey Hurricane Relief Fund and the American Red Cross, brought together 11,000 hockey fans to cheer their favorite players for the first time in months, as well as to jeer NHL leadership.  Many chants of "WE-WANT-HOCKEY" and "FIRE BETTMAN" rung throughout the arena at Boardwalk Hall in jovial fashion.  For an arena packed with Rangers, Flyers, and Devils fans alike, vitriol was set aside for a night to simply celebrate the game we love and help those in need.

Henrik Lundqvist stood on his head early and often making 23 saves in the first period alone as he looked to be in well beyond mid-season form and continued to frustrate the Philly faithful.  Of the many highlight saves perhaps the biggest was on a Steven Stamkos penalty shot.  Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, playing for Hartnell and team Philadelphia on this night, was not as sharp and was subjected to the familiar "MAARR-TYY" chant from the many Rangers fans in attendance.

All in all, a great night for hockey and those greatly in need in the wake of Sandy's destruction.  There have already been preliminary talks of staging a simmilar event at Central Park's Lasker Rink, which has seen previous NHL action in the form of team practices by Pittsburgh Philadelphia and Ottawa.  With the cancellation of this year's Winter Classic this could be a great way to help others again while enjoying the great outdoor game.  one way or another, we all want hockey. 

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