The New York Rangers signed a new teammate Monday night: 15-year-old Chris Falzone, a diehard hockey fan who first stepped on the ice at age 7, the New York Daily News reported.
Falzone, of Atlantic Highlands, N.J., has another element in his arsenal: He’s a cancer survivor.
Blueshirts defenseman Kevin Klein, who shot the winning point Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, presented Falzone with the Broadway Hat— an award for an outstanding performance during the game. The team also signed Falzone to a one-day contract as part of the Garden of Dreams Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey, according to the New York Daily News.
The team held a press conference for Falzone Monday morning at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, where the Rangers play. During the meeting, they announced his contract signing, and Falzone even got to skate with the team prior to their match against the Penguins. Falzone donned a No. 14 jersey.
Falzone had also skated with the team on Thursday, when he rattled a shot off Henrik Lundqvist’s facemask. The shot prompted his teammates to hoot and holler.
“His skills were impeccable and we decided as an organization that we had to sign this young man,” former Rangers player Adam Graves said on Monday morning, according to the New York Daily News. “He is a young man of great character and desire, and we are proud and honored to have him as a part of the Rangers organization.”
When Falzone was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of his freshman year of high school, hockey was at the forefront of his mind: During chemotherapy he asked doctors, “When can I play again?” he recalled to the Rangers.
But his doctors told him he’d never be able to play hockey again and that he needed a full hip replacement. His treatment proved different, but Falzone made a full recovery. He resumed skating in July and was able to rejoin the traveling hockey team he played with prior to his diagnosis.
Next year, Falzone reportedly plans to try out for his high school hockey team.