|Victory at last! Wow,
what a Rush!
RangersRush.com since it's inception in 1998 has always been about the fans. It is a website of the of the fans, for the fans and about the team and the fans. In the many years that I have been a Rangers fan I have never been so proud as I was on the 25th of May, when I was greeted by so many familiar faces in at Le Colisee Pepsi with under 2 hours until game time. At approximately 5:30pm on that date the lion's share of Rangers' fans were inside the Molson Export tent set up outside of the building. With adrenalin running high and pride in the red white and blue just oozing from fans, the inevitable happened, booming, echoing chants of "GO RANGERS GO! GO RANGERS GO!" which drowned out the noise of all other fans in the tent which was started to get filled at this point. Back in Kitchener emotional support was present as well, Rogers Sportsnet reported nearly 6,000 people in attendance at the Memorial Auditorium taking in the game on the video score board.
The difference between this Rangers team and those previous to it is that the 2003 edition felt and believed it to be their destiny to return to Kitchener with their Cup, the feeling must have been contageous because the fans did too! The Rangers after their opener brought their own "Let's go Rangers" goal song and from that point onward won all games by 2 or more goals. In all the Rangers won four straight during the Memorial Cup tournament, after taking four straight in games 2 through 5 from the Ottawa 67's. The final game for the Rangers was their first game where they scored more than 4 goals. Even so far away from the ice, you could hear the four sections of Rangers fans singing the Hull Olympiques goodbye, that amongst other things that the rowdy Rangers fans were singing.
The Rangers outscored their opponents 18-9 in all four games combined. The Rangers swept through the tournament all-stars with only one exception and why not, the Rangers were dominant. The greatest part was that there must have been about 5 or 6 players in the running for the Memorial Cup MVP award. In the end the award went to Derek Roy who has wowed Rangers fans since his arrival in Kitchener in 1999. During his rookie season he centered the Rangers top line and since then Rangers fans have not been able to accurately predict where he will be going with the puck and what he might do. Scott Dickie, the hardluck netminder who started the season on a three-man platoon, and was left with speculation that he might be traded at the deadline. Dickie entered the postseason without any wins, and left with 16 OHL playoff wins, and a stellar 4-0 Memorial Cup record. It is very fortunate, that those who selected the awards at the end of the tourney were able to recognize Dickie's excellent play which may have been overshadowed by the team's overwhelmingly strong play. Steve Eminger deserves recognition for his play which never stopped improving throughout the postseason, Eminger deflected much of the attention, and pressure from the remainder of the defenders while improving his own play. Hometown defender T.J. Eason and a guy that RangersRush.com flavourfully calls: "last piece of the puzzle" George Halkidis have played on what may have been the best blueline core in team history. Best of skill, fortune and success to our graduating players, you will be gone but not forgotten.
On a personal note:
I'd like to thank all of the fans for their unwavering support for the team, I'd like to thank the many visitors to RangersRush.com and the RangersRush forum for all of their support. I would like to extend special thanks to those who directly or indirectly contributed to the website, unfortunately the list would be excessively long and I would forget some names. Our site photographers: Duct Tape, Cat Magic, and Superfan have worked tirelessly to get us some of the best pictures available. Unfortunately time has not permitted that any of the cream of the crop be posted. There's some really amazing stuff coming along, check back soon! A hearty high-five to friends, acquaintances, and those who religiously deliver game updates on radio and print.
Most importantly I'd like to thank, the players, and coaching staff of the Kitchener Rangers. I've waited nearly 20 years to get my hands on the cup, and when I finally got to hold the Cup over my head it was one of the greatest feelings in my life. Words cannot possibly express how important that was to me.
For those whom are regular visitors to the site, believe it or not,
summer means catchup for RangersRush.com, expect all-new features, new
wallpaper, new pictures, new archives and more. As always feel free
Eagle Vision - RangersRush.com owner
Special thanks to: Duct
Tape for the excellent game night photography.