Where Are They Now ... Barry BeckOne of the biggest and most imposing defensemen ever to wear a New York Rangers uniform, Barry Beck, the man known as "Bubba", gave the Blueshirts a massive presence on the blueline from 1979-1986. Beck represented the Rangers at the NHL All-Star game in each of his first four years with the team, but he wasn`t just big and talented. He was also a great leader, and the Rangers were quick to give him the captaincy at age 23, making him the second-youngest captain in team history. Today, Beck lives far away from New York in Hong Kong, but his NHL memories remain strong.
|After coming to New York in a high-profile trade with Colorado on Nov. 2, 1979, hulking defenseman Barry "Bubba" Beck spent seven seasons with the Rangers, but his career was shortened by injuries.|
After I retired the first time from the Rangers it was to go through extensive rehab for my shoulder to prepare for a possible comeback. It took three years. When my comeback with L.A. was unsuccessful, I retired for good. After taking some time off, I opened a hockey school and began teaching kids. I have continued to do that up to the present time here in Hong Kong.
Did you have a favorite moment as a member of the New York Rangers?
Lots of favorite moments. For me it was my first game at The Garden playing for the Rangers after being traded from Colorado. Walking into the dressing room against the L.A. Kings and seeing my name on the back of a Rangers jersey was a proud moment for me. Then standing at the blue line for the National Anthem was an adrenalin rush. Hearing the crowd, the electricity and the buzz was a feeling I will never forget. It gets you PUMPED!
Do you have a special item or piece of memorabilia that you collected as a member of the Rangers that you cherish?
Yes, six teeth and 220 stitches.
What did you like most about playing in New York City as a member of the Rangers?
The neighborhoods in Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, Brooklyn and Harlem -- all the boroughs where the fans come from and you establish relationships with real New Yorkers. The work that you do in those communities to establish ties between the team and the fans for generations to come is really special. And not having to wait in line at Studio 54.
Did you meet any other famous individuals while playing for the Rangers that stood out to you?
You meet lots of people in the entertainment field. I could name a lot of them, but it would be a little boring to do so. Rockers, models, sports figures all travel in the same circles. I met a priest once at a ball hockey game I attended in Queens. He kept yelling during the game, "BARRY, BARRY, this is my daughter Marie. She'll make you a good wife"!
Was there a player or person who helped you to attain your leadership skills on the ice?
Yes, a good friend Rob Ingraham from Northport, L.I. He was always there for me; and not for me the player but for me the person. He was always positive while being realistic. He has a beautiful family and taught me many things about being a leader especially responsibility. He knows that the leader better be the first one out of the trench or over the wall. To show strength yet compassion when need be and be a gentleman with a killer instinct.
I'd also have to mention Herb Brooks, who taught me the most about the game itself. He expected perfection each time out. Maybe it wasn't there every night but he expected it from you. I respect that.
Was there a moment when you realized you were the captain of the Rangers?
When I was named captain, I was the third one during (the 1980-81) year. Dave Maloney was the first part of the year then Walt Tkaczuk took over. I was captain the last part of the year. It changed how I viewed the game. Any player who has been captain of the Rangers realizes its importance. You represent the players and the city so you better have broad shoulders to carry the weight. You always look at how you can make things better for everyone. For the players, management, fans, workers at The Garden even the hot dog vendors outside. You win by having everything tied together all at once. You need everyone! I’d like to have one of those hot dogs with Gulden's mustard right now!