SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Though the NHL players are still locked out, it didn’t prevent New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh from taking the time to sign autographs for fans on Saturday afternoon.
McDonagh, who played the past two seasons with the Rangers, signed autographs and took pictures with fans at American Legends on Central Park Avenue. McDonagh said it is an honor that people would take time out of their Saturday to come see him.
“It’s always great to interact with the fans,” McDonagh said. “We want to play, and they want to watch us. It’s fun to meet them, and the support is encouraging.”
The event coincided with a book signing by NHL writer Russ Cohen, who recently wrote "The Winter Classic, The NHL’s Savior" with Michael del Tufo. Cohen said the book is about outdoor hockey, and since McDonagh grew up in Minnesota playing outdoors, it was fitting to have the book signing together with McDonagh’s autograph session.
“We all grew up playing outdoor hockey,” Cohen said. “The book is a great tie-in. Ryan is a popular guy and brings in a big crowd.”
One autograph seeker, Dan Vanatia, was happy to meet one of his favorite hockey players.
“He’s really good at defense, and I like the way he plays,” Vanatia said. “I like all the Rangers players, and watching them is a lot of fun.”
With the NHL locked out, McDonagh went to play in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia for Barys Astana for 10 games. McDonagh said he skated in Russia because he wants to stay sharp.
“It’s nice coming home, because it makes you appreciate the way the Rangers treat you and the way the NHL is,” McDonagh said.