Below is Nick's (Bantam Lions) winning letter:
Charles Marchiselli Sr. is a life long Ranger fan and more importantly my grandfather. He has followed the Rangers since childhood and was proudly at the Garden for some of the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs. He often jokes that he'll never forget my birthday because I was born in 1994, although a few months too late to have watched the Rangers win the Cup. My grandfather has been bringing me to games and watching games with me since I was old enough to walk. He is always teaching me about the game and the history of the Rangers. Rangers games are always the highlight of the week and he is always sure to either plan to take me or one of my cousins to the game or he invites us over to watch the game on tv at his house in his Ranger memorabilia filled den.
Living in Long Island is a challenge for a Ranger fan and I often hear him citing stats and defending his love of the Rangers to our family and neighbors who don't really get how he could live in Long Island and not be an Islander fan. He can tell you stats on Ranger players going back to the 40s and 50s when he grew up in NYC as a Ranger fan - it is these roots that are one of the reasons I think he is a true blue fan. By his love of the game and love of the team he has caused the entire family to respect the game at a young age. One of his favorite players is Adam Graves and he has always thought that he deserved to have his number retired. At Brian Leetch night he was almost as ecstatic as Grave himself and I thought he might even have a tear in his eye! This season his favorite current player is Scotty Gomez. He has a high confidence level in him and knows that he is an important part of the team. Even when some of the media thought Gomez was thought to have been a bad pick-up he stayed loyal to Gomez's game and knew that when the time came Gomez would produce. When my grandpa saw Gomez wipe out his face turned pale. Now he is praying for Gomez's speedy recovery so he is ready for the playoffs.
From all his years of following the Rangers and the NHL he always has comments during the game. He often makes a comment about a play or a stat about a player and moments later the announcer will make the same comment. "I should have been an announcer!" is a frequent comment along with a laugh and chuckle.
When he was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer in November of 2006 we kept our hopes high for both him and the Rangers. He has not let being sick get in the way of his loyalty to the Rangers. He goes to as many home games as possible between chemo treatments even though his medication causes his fingers to tingle in the cold and the trip to the Garden can be tiring for him. He still makes sure every grandchild has his or her chance to attend a home game. He watches every game on tv that he can't make in person and even took me to the last playoff game of the 2006-07 season against Buffalo. He continues to pass on the tradition of rooting for the Rangers to me, my brother and sister and his other grandchildren. He knows that of all the grandchildren I love ice hockey and the Rangers the most (maybe because I was born in 1994) so he has taken me with him to the retirement games for Messier, Richter and Leetch.
My grandfather deserves the Shirts Off Our Back Award not because he is the biggest fan or goes to a lot of games but because he has passed on his immense knowledge and love of the Rangers to his children and grandchildren. I hope one day I have the chance to continue the tradition and pass on my love of the Rangers to my grandkids just like him. From going to the game while on chemotherapy to having the family over for the game, he always has the next game in mind. He IS True Blue Pride.