New York Rangers
The New York Rangers are a professional ice hockey team based as their name would suggest in New York City, being a member club of the Metropolitan Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Rangers, who play their home games at the world-famous Madison Square Garden in Manhattan compete for the support of New York hockey fans with two other franchises the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. Their name can be attributed to their founder George Lewis "Tex" Rickard, president of Madison Square Garden, who was raising a franchise to compete with the now defunct Amerks (New York Americans) who at the time were also playing at the Garden and were unhappy with the competition! The team thus became “Tex’s Rangers”.
The history of the Rangers dates back to 1926 when they joined the NHL as an expansion franchise. The Rangers were the first NHL franchise in the United States to win the Stanley Cup which they have done four times, most recently in 1993–94. Unlike many new entrants to professional sporting leagues, the Rangers enjoyed immediate success through winning the American Division title their first year although they lost to the Boston Bruins in the playoffs.
This success led to players becoming minor celebrities and fixtures in New York City's Roaring 20's nightlife and because they were playing at the Garden on 48th Street, blocks away from Times Square, the Rangers obtained their now-famous nickname "The Broadway Blueshirts." They achieved another first when on December 13, 1929, the New York Rangers became the first team in the NHL to travel by plane when they hired the Curtiss-Wright Corporation to fly them to Toronto for a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Unfortunately they lost!
Naturally in such a long history, many great players have donned the sweater of the New York Rangers. Let’s start with Mark Messier considered by many one of the greatest NHL players of all time. He is second on the all-time career lists for regular season points (1887), playoff points (295) and regular season games played (1756). He won six Stanley Cups, five with the Oilers and one with the Rangers, and is the only player to captain two different professional teams to championships. His playoff leadership while in New York, which ended a 54-year Stanley Cup drought in 1994, earned him the nickname "The Messiah".
Brian Leetch played16 full seasons with the Blueshirts, setting multiple team records in the process. Throughout the 1992-93 season he amassed a staggering 102 points, becoming the fifth defenseman in NHL history to break the century mark and earning the first of his two Norris Trophies.
Rod Gilbert was the first Rangers player to have his number retired, a tribute to his 16 seasons with the Blueshirts, when he scored 20-plus goals 12 times, 30-plus goals five times—including three straight years with 36 goals—and registered 97 points on two occasions.
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