Lundqvist rocks for charity

As Ranger teammate Avery shows a side not many have seen


Henrik Lundqvist knows how to play - not only in goal. The multi-talented Swede and teammate Sean Avery did some charity work in New York. Photo: IIHF

NEW YORK -- They say New York is a city of some eight million stories. It is definitely the only city where you could find New York Rangers’ Swedish star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist entertaining patrons at the grand opening of teammate Sean Avery’s new nightspot, Warren 77.

Warren 77 (located at 77 Warren Street in Tribeca) is one of New York’s latest “must-see” bar/restaurants. It’s a place where you can watch the NHL Conference finals on one of the five flat screen televisions while enjoying a burger and beer as models and actors hold court at the bar.

Opening night on May 15 was a who’s who of the entertainment, hockey, and fashion worlds. Besides Lundqvist, Brendan Shanahan and Brad Richards (who flew in from Dallas) joined the fun, as well as tennis legend John McEnroe and actress Kirsten Dunst. Even New York Post hockey writer Larry Brooks was in on the fun.

To celebrate the opening, Lundqvist played acoustic guitar with fellow musician Paul Cataldo. The duo entertained with cover songs, including a soulful rendition of the Marshall Crenshaw Band’s “Can’t You See”.

Although many hockey fans (mostly Swedes) know about Lundqvist’s penchant for music and especially playing the guitar, not many have actually seen him perform live, especially not in front of a VIP assembly like the one in this Manhattan hang-out the other day.

“Music and playing the guitar is good for relaxing between the games,” Henrik told the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet last week as he was the guest on a Swedish television show recorded in New York.

“But I don’t have any plans for an alternative career,“ said Henrik who, barring injury or miracles, will be Team Sweden’s starting goaltender at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. “It’s a good thing to have so you don’t have to think about hockey all the time. It also gives you an opportunity to meet other people and I have met some very interesting ones through music.”

Between sets, Lundqvist and Avery were accessible to attendees. Avery, in particular, was quite the host, making sure those in attendance were having a good time.

Lundqvist, who is starting a band, was taking suggestions for the name of his new group. The wife of local classic rock radio personality Ken Dashow suggested “Five Hole Soul”. It was the best of any names suggested that night.

Proceeds from the event went to benefit Madison Square Garden’s “Garden of Dreams” program that works to make dreams come through for children in crisis.

Those who only know Avery as one of the NHL’s most controversial players would be surprised by his various interests that extend well beyond the rink.

Along with his recent foray as a restaurateur, Avery is also a fashion enthusiast and supporter of charitable efforts. In June, Career Gear, a national nonprofit that provides business attire to disadvantaged men seeking jobs, will honor Avery for his work with the organization since September 2008.


NHL Notebook:
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins advanced to their second consecutive Stanley Cup final by sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes with a 4-1 win at Raleigh on Tuesday.
  • Pittsburgh was awaits the winner of the Western Conference Finals to find out who it will play in the Stanley Cup Final. Detroit, who beat Pittsburgh in six games last season, needs just one more win against the Victoria Cup bound Chicago Blackhawks. Game 5 is at Detroit on Wednesday night (May 27).
  • Pittsburgh outscored Carolina 20-9 in the four games. 
  • Peter Zezel, a solid two-way center during 15 seasons in the NHL, died Tuesday at age 44. Zezel had struggled with a rare and serious blood disease the past 10 years. Zezel played in 873 NHL-games with Philadelphia, St. Louis, Washington, Toronto, Dallas, New Jersey and Vancouver.
  • Pat Quinn was announced as the new head coach of the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, with Tom Renney being named as associate coach. Quinn led Team Canada to the Olympic gold medal in 2002 and he was also the coach for Canada's juniors who won the 2008 IIHF World U20 Championship in Ottawa.




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