|MIKE RICHTER NIGHT|
Mike Richter features and video >>
Mike Richter received the highest honor bestowed upon any New York Rangers player when his #35 was raised to the Madison Square Garden rafters tonight, joining Rod Gilbert and Ed Giacomin in class of their own. Former teammates, Blueshirt legends, the current team and an emotional crowd paid tribute to the club's all-time winningest goaltender on this special night in franchise history.
Former Rangers goaltender and current Blueshirt color analyst on MSG Network John Davidson served as the master of ceremonies for the festivities.
Following some opening remarks, Davidson introduced several Rangers alumni who were brought back to The Garden for this momentous occasion. First, he introduced several players who, like Mike Richter, spent their entire career in New York. Walt Tkaczuk, Steve Vickers, Jan Erixon and Ron Greschner were well received by the Blueshirt faithful.
Next up came members of the 1994 Stanley Cup championship team, including Glenn Anderson, Nick Kypreos, Stephane Matteau and Adam Graves, whose introduction nearly brought the house down.
The two men who preceeded Richter in the hallowed Garden rafters were introduced next - #7 - Rod Gilbert and #1 - Ed Giacomin.
Following a touching video tribute on GardenVision, Richter led the Rangers out of the lockerroom and onto the ice for one final time, as he had done for 14 seasons on Broadway.
Emotional words from Graves and Messier came next before Richter was presented with four gifts from the Rangers organization, his former teammates and the current Blueshirt team.
50-year Rangers season subscribers Andrew Bruno and Emma Bruno first presented Richter with a one-of-a-kind assemblage celebrating his storied career, created by artist Ray Ward.
Erixon and Kypreos then presented #35 with a silver goal net, inscribed with the names of all 219 teammates that suited up beside him during his 14 seasons.
11-year old Thomas Nolan from Mahopac, New York and 10-year old Jordan Schildhaus from Woodbury, New York joined Richter at center ice to announce the creation of the Mike Richter Scholarship to benefit New York kids.
Last but certainly not least, Richter was presented with a 19-foot Cris Craft mohogany boat (circa 1940), crafted in Queensbury, New York and appropriately named 'True Blue 35.'
Richter then addressed the sold-out Garden crowd, who showered him with heartfelt applause.
" For the organization that I've always admired to come through with this is absolutely overwhelming," said Richter. "Over this last year, any sense of loss has been replaced with feelings of gratitude and joy, and the realization that this time spent here was nothing short of an amazing gift."
Richter was then joined on the ice by his wife Veronica and sons Thomas and James. The Richter family, escorted by Gilbert and Giacomin, made their way to the front of the goal that Richter so skillfully defended since the 1989 season as they watched #35 deservedly raised to the rafters, never to be worn again by another New York Ranger.