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Rangers' Callahan joins exclusive fraternity

by David Kalan

U.S.-born NHL captains

Ryan Callahan became the 37th U.S.-born player to captain an NHL team when the New York Rangers appointed him to the position on Monday. Those players have come from 12 states and the District of Columbia:

Minnesota (10): Neal Broten (North Stars), Dave Christian (Jets), David Backes (Blues), Darby Hendrickson (Wild), Mark Johnson (Whalers), Jamie Langenbrunner (Devils), Reed Larson (Red Wings), Mike Ramsey (Sabres), John Mariucci (Blackhawks), Mark Parrish (Wild)

Massachusetts (6): Tony Amonte (Blackhawks), Tom Fitzgerald (Predators), Robbie Ftorek (Nordiques), Bill Guerin (Islanders), Shawn McEachern (Thrashers), Keith Tkachuk (Jets, Coyotes)

Michigan (5): Derian Hatcher (Stars and Flyers), Kevin Hatcher (Capitals), Mike Modano (Stars), Brian Rolston (Wild), Doug Weight (Islanders and Oilers)

New York (4): Dustin Brown (Kings), Ryan Callahan (Rangers), Craig Conroy (Flames), Brian Gionta (Canadiens)

Connecticut (2): Chris Clark (Capitals), Chris Drury (Sabres and Rangers)

Illinois (2): Chris Chelios (Canadiens and Blackhawks), Lee Fogolin (Oilers)

Texas (2): Michael Christie (Rockies), Brian Leetch (Rangers)

Iowa (1): Russ Anderson (Whalers)

Missouri (1): Pat LaFontaine (Sabres)

New Jersey (1): Jim Dowd (Wild)

Rhode Island (1): Keith Carney (Wild)

Utah (1): Steve Konowalchuk (Capitals)

Washington, D.C. (1): Jeff Halpern (Capitals)
Few individual honors in hockey are more meaningful than being named a team captain, and doing so as a native of the United States is an exclusive club. On Monday, the New York Rangers' Ryan Callahan became the 37th member of that fraternity.

With Ryan Callahan named captain of the New York Rangers on Monday, the NHL again has four captains -- Callahan, the Kings' Dustin Brown, the Canadiens' Brian Gionta and the Blues' David Backes -- who hail from the United States. While that news should be a source of pride for any U.S. hockey fan, it should be particularly so for those from the Empire State. Three of the four current U.S.-born captains in the NHL -- Brown, Gionta and Callahan -- are New York natives, but it is Callahan who gets the rare treat of being a captain of an NHL team in his home state.

Just how rare is that for an American?

Of the 37 Americans who have been team captains, only four have done so in a team from their home state, with Callahan being joined by Chris Chelios, who wore the "C" for the Chicago Blackhawks, and Darby Hendrickson and Mark Parrish, who did so with the Minnesota Wild.

Of those four, just Chelios has gotten to live out the ultimate childhood dream. As a native of Chicago, he, along with Washington, D.C.-native Jeff Halpern, is one of only two Americans to have been a captain for an NHL team in his birthplace -- although Callahan's predecessor, Chris Drury, grew up in a Connecticut suburb of New York only about 50 miles from Madison Square Garden.

While New York is tops in producing current U.S.-born NHL captains, Backes' home state of Minnesota holds the all-time lead. While 12 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have produced at least one NHL captain, Minnesota leads the list with 10.

The only U.S.-born player to captain his team to a Stanley Cup is Dallas' Derian Hatcher in 1999.

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