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Oct. 6, 1976 (Rangers vs. Minnesota North Stars)
FINAL GAME WITH RANGERS
April 4, 1985 (Rangers at St. Louis Blues)
RANGERS TEAM AWARDS
Boucher Trophy (Most Popular) — 1981-82
"Crumb Bum" Award (Community Service) — 1982-83
RANGERS TEAM LEADER
Most penalty minutes — 1976-77, 1978-79
RANGERS ORGANIZATION STATISTICS
Minor-league games: 14
Minor-league teams: New Haven (AHL) 1977-78, 1985-86
Nickname: Nicky, Nicky Boy
Full name: Nicholas Evlampios Fotiu
Uniform Numbers: 22
Retired from pro hockey: 1990
Nick Fotiu`s eight seasons with the New York Rangers were a testament to a remarkable hockey player who defied all the odds to reach the NHL.
Growing up a short distance from Madison Square Garden in Staten Island, N.Y., Fotiu had limited access to ice rinks. But Fotiu, a huge Rangers fan, was determined not to let that stand in the way of his dream.
Playing hockey for the first time at age 15, he quickly came up through the old New York Metropolitan junior league and at age 22 had managed to catch on with the Hartford Whalers of the former World Hockey Association.
Just one step away from the NHL, Fotiu didn`t have to wait long for his hometown Rangers to give him a shot. He signed with the Blueshirts on July 23, 1976, becoming the first player born and raised within the five boroughs ever to reach the Rangers.
New York fans recognized Fotiu`s achievement in making it to the Rangers. They embraced his work ethic and fearlessness on the ice. Over the next decade, Fotiu developed a special relationship with his fans, and he faithfully honored them by throwing and shooting practice pucks into the stands before every game.
Fotiu was so popular with the Garden Faithful that even after being lost to Hartford in the 1979 NHL Expansion Draft, he was still a star whenever he returned to face the Rangers. Midway through the 1980-81 season, the Rangers brought Fotiu back to New York, where he would continue to play through the 1984-85 season.
Although he wasn`t a big scorer and was known throughout the league as an enforcer, Fotiu did manage to net eight goals in both 1981-82 and 1982-83. He also managed to play a total of 646 games before his retirement in 1990 — far more than many high-profile players who didn`t face similar obstacles to reach the NHL.
Following his retirement, Fotiu turned to coaching and eventually came back to the Rangers organization as an assistant coach with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2002. By 2005, he had shifted to the role of pro scout — keeping close ties to the NHL team with which his name will forever be associated.
º Boucher Trophy Winners
º "Crumb Bum" Award Winners
º Photographic Memory: 1979 Stanley Cup Playoffs