Chris Drury has accomplished a lot in his 40 years, from winning a Little League World Series to a Stanley Cup championship. But one goal has eluded him all these years, and it's one he hopes to conquer in his new role with the Rangers.
"I wanted to win a Stanley Cup as a New York Ranger since I knew what a New York Ranger was," Drury told BlueshirtsUnited.com Friday after being named Assistant General Manager. "That was my goal as a kid and it's certainly still my goal now."
Drury, who spent four seasons with the Rangers from 2007 to 2011, joined the organization just under a year ago as Director of Player Development. In his new role, the 40-year-old will assist General Manager Jeff Gorton on all player transactions and contract negotiations, as well as continue to oversee and evaluate all players at the collegiate level.
In addition, Drury will continue to assist in the development of Rangers prospects, both on and off the ice, and serve as a liaison between the hockey operations department and prospects in the organization.
"I was very excited," Drury said when asked about the promotion. "To be part of the team in this way is a huge honor. I'm certainly thrilled to be doing it."
Gorton, who spent four seasons as Assistant General Manager before taking over the General Manager duties in July 2015, said Drury brings the same qualities to the front office as he did in his 12-year playing career.
"Chris has become an extremely important and valuable member of our management team since joining us last year," Gorton said. "He's come in with the same qualities we all know he had as a player — great work ethic, passion and dedication. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, with everything he's accomplished in the game and feel very fortunate to have him working with us in this role."
Drury is part of a core of new scouts and personnel the Rangers brought in last season, including Assistant Director of Player Personnel Steve Greeley and Nickolai Bobrov, Director of European Scouting. Drury said it's a positive that this group of young executives can grow together, and more importantly, learn from veterans on the staff, starting with President Glen Sather and Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager Jim Schoenfeld.
"It would be crazy for someone in my shoes not to lean on them" Drury said of the impact Sather and Schoenfeld have had on him over the last year. "You can add up the years they've been involved in professional hockey and it's amazing the time and experience they have in this game.
"I tried to lean on them as much as I can this year," Drury added.
Drury, who finished his NHL career after the 2010-11 season, amassed 615 points in 892 games. He won the Calder Trophy in 1999 and a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001. He became the 25th captain in Rangers history on Oct. 3, 2008 and was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.
Drury said while his main focus as a player was the games at hand, later on in his career the thought about what was next for him did enter into his mind, and he felt management was where he saw himself after his playing days were over.
"When you're playing, you're just focusing on being a player," Drury said. "But certainly as you get older ... you start to think about what's next. This was something that was always in the back of my mind. I was fortunate enough that Jeff hired me last year in that role. Obviously fortunate to have the job I have now."
It's fitting his second career has begun where his first ended, and Drury wouldn't have it any other way.
"There's no question this is where I wanted to be, who I wanted to work for," Drury said. "I never left the area. I grew up in Connecticut, still live in the area in Westchester. It's home to me.
"The Rangers meant the world to me for a long time," Drury continued. "To be part of Jeff's team and Glen's team — we're all pulling in the same direction to win a Cup as Rangers. [It] is our ultimate goal."