An Email Interview with Paul Damante – Builder of Rangerstown Mancave

From Paul Damante - Builder of Rangerstown Mancave
From Paul Damante - Builder of Rangerstown Mancave

If you grew up a hockey fan, chances are you dreamt about having a space for all the hockey-related items you collected or will collect as an adult.

One such person is New York Rangers fanatic Paul Damante. Damante has the ultimate fan cave known as “Rangerstown Mancave.”

Paul was kind enough to take time out of his busy Rangers-watching schedule to tell us about how he became a Blueshirt fan, how he came up with the idea for his Rangers-related fan cave, and much more. I hope you enjoy learning about this awesome space.

PH: How did you become a New York Rangers fan?
PD: I grew up playing hockey and started playing when I was five years old. My father got me into the sport and he was a big Rangers fan. 

He started taking me to games at a young age and I just fell in love with the sport and the Rangers.

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite Ranger? How about now?
PD: My favorite player growing up was Adam Graves. I just loved the way he played the game and I got a chance to skate with him not that long ago at the Rod Gilbert Memorial game where I scored two goals, both of which he assisted on.

He told me to keep getting open and that the puck will come to me. That is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. 

My favorite player now is Artemi Panarin. He is an exciting player to watch and is super talented.

PH: You are known on social media as Rangerstown Mancave because you built a Rangers mancave. Why did you decide to build a Rangers-themed Mancave?
PD: Growing up over the years I have met a ton of players and have been collecting memorabilia my whole life. As I got older, my parents’ basement was filled with things I collected as a kid and as I got older and eventually bought my house, I only thought it was right for me to display everything I collected.

Little did I know that I would build a mini-Madison Square Garden in my basement. A lot of thought and planning went into it and I can tell you that I have changed things around and added to it many times already.

PH: How long did it take to get the mancave built?
PD: When I first bought my house, the second week after I moved in I went down to the basement and started tearing walls down and gutting it. As such, the initial build took about five months.

I then added the bar, so it took me about six months in total. Then again, I do not think I can ever say my build is done as I am always thinking about what can I do next to make this even more unique.

PH: The mancave features a TON of Rangers-related items. How did you find them, collect them, feature them, etc.?
PD: My father had a nice collection that he passed down to me, but I have been collecting for years. I have pictures from 1994 sitting in the locker room with Mike Richter, Graves, and Brian Leetch Leetch and I also have many autographed pucks.

Another one of my friends, Steve, is a huge Rangers fan and he has helped me out with my collection. My collection will never stop and to this day I am adding new autographs and pieces to my collection.

PH: How did you get to showcase your Rangers-themed mancave for a commercial on MSG Network?
PD: I decided to make a separate Instagram for my basement and Rangerstown Mancave was born. After posting a couple of videos, MSG Network commented on one of my videos and as a joke, I replied asking them to get me on a commercial.

They then messaged me and got me in contact with a producer. Shortly after that, they sent a film crew out to my basement and I had my first commercial. 

After that, they would occasionally ask me for more videos and different types of footage and that turned into five commercials that were aired on MSG network and the jumbotron at Madison Square Garden.

PH: You are involved with some brands including Upper Deck, Ultimate Hockey Fans, and Soda Sports. How did you get involved with each brand and what exactly are you doing for them that is Rangers-related?
PD: So with Upper Deck, I entered their ultimate MVP contest. I won the first stage and represented the Rangers, but I unfortunately lost in the the second round. They made me my own trading card for winning the first round and sent a box to me.

I came across Connected Room Sports on Instagram and loved the product. It gave me the ability to sync all of my lights and the goal horn up and also offered a ton of other cool features like a scoreboard and stats screen as well as full automation. I ended up reaching out to them and I was able to work out a deal for a subscription to the service and in return, I would promote their products and try to bring them more business. 

The same goes for Ultimate Hockey Fans and Soda Sports. Ultimate Hockey Fans make a ton of cool products as they make custom hockey fans, custom-led backlit wall art, puck lights, and anything else that is customizable that you could imagine.

I came across Soda Sports because I had seen a couple of their t-shirts and loved the designs and how unique they were. They sent me some merchandise and in return, I would promote their products and bring them more business.

PH: Given today’s social media age, have you ever considered establishing your own Rangers fan brand and making it a full-time career? It certainly seems like you have the passion to do it!
PD: I would be lying if I said I did not think about this daily. In all honesty, it is a tough business to get into with all of these brands out there today.

It is a big risk and it is also a big commitment for something that is not guaranteed. Other than creating my own brand, I would love to do something full-time with social media.

PH: Is there anything else that you would like to share with the readers here at Inside the Rink?
PD: I put in a lot of passion, time, money, and work into building what I did. I follow a ton of other accounts on Instagram with man caves whether I like the team or not because I can appreciate and respect the passion that others have for their teams. 

I read some of these comments left on their pages as well as my own from your typical internet trolls and haters and it is sickening. I think all that I would ask is for people just to show some respect whether they love it or hate it or love or hate the team because in the end, someone put their blood and sweat into their builds and it is something they love and are proud of.

In this week's episode we talk about Schnieder, Lindgren's future with NYR, and with Drury seemingly done with off seaon moves the outlook of this team.How to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITRThanks for listening! Please rate and review our show on your favorite listening platform. Check out our partner's website at www.insidetherink.com for all your latest hockey news.
  1. Running it Back
  2. Guest Will Wright
  3. There's more to come……….Right ?
  4. Guest Colin Stephenson
  5. Guest HockeyStatMiner

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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