2005-12-09 / Sports

The Legend of Bobby Granger Starting To Grow For Rangers Fans

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist

Much like the play of the team, the New York Rangers’ public relations department has had a surprising start to the season with their “Bobby Granger” commercials.

And it’s all thanks to an actor who brought his love of the team into the role.

“I have been a Ranger fan since I was 11 years old,” said the actor who plays Bobby Granger. “I first started getting into it because all my friends played. I became the goalie. I then fell in love with the team and I was fortunate to be around for the Stanley Cup year. I guess I was a little spoiled, since people were waiting their whole lives for it and I just got into it and they won the Cup. I got lucky. When I got older, I never fell out of love with them.”

Granger, 24, got the role from when one of his ex-girlfriends, who works for a talent agency that got him the audition for the part. Since he came in wearing a Ranger jersey, the actor felt it would help him get the gig.

All the commercials were shot on a weekend in September. Each short spot took on a life of its own and some are witty, like the “Fauggabootit” commercial with Dominic Moore and the one with John Davidson’s tie to ones with more physical humor, such as the commercial with Maxim Kondratiev and Darius Kasparaitis.

“It was quite an experience and for a while Kasparaitis was always on the other side of the fence, in a good way,” Granger said. “When I saw the scripts, I got a little bit of a sinking feeling. But when it started, he was smiling. They were very good about it. They warned me and were very careful and cool about it making sure I was ok.”

Granger also gotten beat up by Jaromir Jagr and Petr Prucha in a spot, but it was all in good fun.

“The players and everything when they are interacting is a great thing,” Granger said. “You get to see them in a different light.”

The spots were the actor’s first big roles and even though he hasn’t landed any other parts yet, it did get him noticed.

“I guess it’s in the beginning stages and there has been talk in the ad magazines, but hasn’t spring boarded,” he said.

But it has made him somewhat of a star around Madison Square Garden. As a Ranger fan, the actor still goes to games, like he did before turning into Bobby Granger. But now fans notice and some even invite him to games.

Granger said: “It wasn’t a situation the Rangers gave me tickets, so I am just going to games when I can go to or whenever someone is nice enough to invite me, but I was fortunate enough to get upgraded with some of the fans at the True Blue [commercial] spots.

At games, the actor does wear his “Bobby Granger” jersey, which is No. 98 because “it’s as close to the Great One [Wayne Gretzky] you can get.” Outside of the Garden, the response has been positive, especially with the Devils and Islanders fans that he’s encountered in his travels. “I haven’t had too much problem with fans of other times, but there are times I want to go to an away game and start some trouble,” he said. “But I have to take an entourage, since I am not very big.”

Needless to say, Granger does hope the commercials do continue.

“I guess if everyone is digging it,” he said. “If people like it, let the Rangers know.”

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