The Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club ushered in the new on Wednesday morning, unveiling a new captain and a redesigned Rangers-Sun Life warm-up jersey as the club prepares for opening of the regular season this week.
The Kitchener Rangers proudly introduced Ben Fanelli as the captain for the 2013-14 season on Wednesday, in advance of the team’s home opener on September 20.
The 20-year old defencemen enters his final Ontario Hockey League season following a breakout year in 2012-13. He shared Most Valuable Players honours last season after leading all rearguards with a +23 rating and recording a career-best 23 points.
“It’s a huge honour to be named captain of the Kitchener Rangers,” shared Fanelli, after it was announced he would succeed Ryan Murphy as the club’s on-ice leader.
“There is a list on the dressing room wall of past captains – when I look at that, it’s a list of guys that I have really idolized and to be a part of this group is unbelievable.”
CLICK HERE to watch video.
A fan favourite for his commitment to the community, Ben is also the founder of Head Strong: Fanelli 4 Brain Injury Awareness, a program he started with the team to raise awareness about brain injuries. The project has grown since its inception in March 2011, including the introduction of his ‘Keeping Head Strong’ blog, which allows him share his experiences, both past and present, as he continues to promote awareness surrounding brain injuries.
Fanelli was recognized by the Ontario Hockey League with the 2012-13 Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy, becoming the first player in Rangers history to earn the league’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. He also collected the Canadian Hockey League Humanitarian of the Year Award at a ceremony in May 2013.
“Ben is the natural choice to lead this team. He brings veteran leadership and skill to the ice and is an excellent role model for our younger players,” said Rangers Head Coach Troy Smith.
“But more importantly, his contribution to the club and its values extends beyond the ice. His record of giving back to the fans and his exemplary service to our community is a positive influence on his teammates. Ben is genuinely a leader on and off the ice.”
In his first act as captain of the Rangers, Fanelli unveiled the team’s new warm-up jersey, presented in partnership with Sun Life Financial. The newly-designed sweater will debut on Friday evening when the Rangers host the Saginaw Spirit at 7:30 pm.
This will be the third season that the club dons warm-up jerseys sponsored by Sun Life Financial for home games. Over the first two years, jerseys have been autographed and auctioned online to raise funds for the Sun Life Financial Kids in Gear program.
“Sun Life Financial is proud to continue our sponsorship with the Kitchener Rangers,” said Kevin Dougherty, President, Sun Life Financial Canada.
“The Rangers are a strong team not only on the ice, but also off the ice with their generous support of programs like Kids in Gear. Our partnership allows us to make a difference to help more kids to play hockey in the Kitchener-Waterloo community.”
The Sun Life Financial Kids In Gear program is the core of this successful partnership. Sun Life Financial and the Kitchener Rangers are helping families in our community by collecting and purchasing hockey equipment for kids who require support in order to get in the game.
“I’m really proud that we can work with Sun Life Financial to help kids in our community to play a sport that has given me so much,” said Fanelli as he pulled on the newly-designed jersey.
“The Kids In Gear program gives so much to players who could be the Rangers of the future, and I’m happy we have such a strong partner in Sun Life.”
The Sun Life Financial Kids in Gear program raises funds and collects equipment throughout the Kitchener Rangers season:
• Every time the Rangers score a goal at The Aud, Sun Life Financial makes a monetary donation to the program.
• Sun Life holds annual equipment drives at its local offices, The Aud and other locations in our community (CLICK HERE to see a list of drop off locations)
• Equipment is also collected at the annual Skate with the Rangers event at The Aud, involving community and media partners
• Additional funds and gear are collected at projects throughout the season, including the Sun Life Financial Warm Up Jersey Auction, Breakfast with the Coach series and equipment collection at the Rangers’ Fan Appreciation BBQ.