Stanley Cup fever starts in Times Square with replica “fountain”

Stanley Cup fever starts in Times Square with replica “fountain”

NEW YORK – I don’t know if New York City is gripped by playoff fever. My guess is not.
I haven’t seen Mayor Michael Bloomberg out nailing up “Rangers Mile” street signs.
Nor have I seen motorcades of fans driving up and down Broadway waving Ranger flags.
But the NHL does have a pretty good symbol of the playoffs sitting in the world’s most famous square.
It’s a 21-foot high, 6,600-pound replica of the Stanley Cup that is a fully functioning water fountain, dispensing, a young tour guide told me, “good, old fashioned, pure New York tap water” from several spouts around the base of the Cup. ( I found out later the water for the fountain actually comes from the pristine Catskill Mountains, about 160 kms north of New York City, which made me feel a whole lot better about the cup I drank.)
Even as hundreds of people lined up to get cheap Broadway tickets on a late Wednesday afternoon, and thousands of others jammed the souvenir stores of Times Square or examined the real “Coach” purses being displayed by curbside vendors, dozens were captivated by the Cup.
Up they went the half-dozen steps to fill a souvenir “Cup” with water. Many took pictures, hanging over the railing or arm-in-arm with a buddy, trying to avoid the spray of water.
It was almost like Ottawa. Only different.
I got there too late to see commissioner Gary Bettman pose in front of the replica with the real 35-pound Stanley Cup, along with members of NBC Sports and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
As with most things these days, this had a green side.
It marked the end of the NHL’s Gallons for Goals initiative for 2011-12, which sought to focus on the importance of freshwater as a natural resource.
Through Gallons for Goals, the NHL Foundation pledged to restore 1,000 gallons of water to a distressed river for every goal scored during the regular season. So, with 6,726 goals having been scored, the league will replenish a stream in the northwest United States with 6.7 million gallons of water.
The other message of the day was to let New Yorkers know that it’s OK to drink tap water, that they don’t have to make a mess of the environment by buying bottled water.
That’s certainly a laudable goal, but Bloomberg put his foot in it – at least for Ottawa hockey fans – when he issued a statement that contained his two cents.
“One thing the New York Rangers have in common with our city’s tap water: neither can be beat,” said the mayor.
Oh, really?
Ottawa tap water is pretty darn good, too.
And then, of course, there’s the hockey team.

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