One month to the day after captain Jaromir Jagr scored the 600th goal of his NHL career, the Rangers organization officially honored both Jagr and assistant captain Brendan Shanahan for becoming the first NHL teammates to reach No. 600 in the same season.
In a special ceremony prior to Tuesday night's game against the Islanders, Jagr and Shanhan were brought to center ice, where they were greeted by their entire families as well as fellow 600-goal scorers Mark Messier, Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman.
The rare gathering of five of the 16 players who have scored 600 goals in the NHL came as a complete surprise to both Shanahan and Jagr. Long in the planning, the purpose of the ceremony was also kept a secret from Rangers fans, who were merely advised to be in their seats or in front of their television sets promptly at 7 p.m.
Among those taking part in the ceremony were Jagr's parents, Jaromir and Anna, who flew in from the Czech Republic, and Shanahan's mother, Rose, who came in from her home in Ontario, Canada. Shanahan's wife and three children were also on the ice, along with Jagr's girlfriend.
Messier, on behalf of the Rangers organization, presented Jagr and Shanahan with engraved silver sticks, commemorating their rare achievement.
The highlight for many fans was a chance to welcome back Messier, who received a thunderous ovation, and to see both Yzerman and Lemieux, two of the greatest players in NHL history. While they were rivals of the Rangers during their playing days, there was no doubt from the crowd's reaction that these were two of the most respected players NHL fans have ever known.
Jagr said he was particularly impressed and touched that Lemieux made the trip up from Pittsburgh to be with him at the event.
"Other than my parents, he was the biggest influence on me in hockey. That is for sure," said Jagr. "I came here at 18 years old and I had my style of hockey and he had his style, and he changed it."
Jagr scored his 600th goal in a Nov. 19 game against Tampa Bay at Madison Square Garden. Shanahan scored No. 600 in the Rangers' season-opener against Washington on Oct. 5.
Jagr and Shanahan are the third and fourth players to score their 600th goals while with the Rangers. Phil Esposito and Mike Gartner also reached the 600 milestone while with the Blueshirts. Five other 600-goal scorers also played for the Rangers but scored their historic goals with other teams.