New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the organization will retire Mark Messier's No. 11 in a special on-ice ceremony prior to the Rangers - Edmonton Oilers game on Thursday, January 12, 2006.
Known simply as "The Captain," Messier's leadership skills and intangible qualities are as well known and documented as his incredible list of on-ice accomplishments. He leaves the game ranking second on the NHL's all-time scoring list with 1,887 points. In addition, Messier places seventh in goals with 694, third in assists with 1,193 and second in games played with 1,756.
The 16-time NHL All-Star joined the Rangers on October 4, 1991 in one of the most significant transactions in the history of the organization. Messier was acquired from Edmonton in exchange for Bernie Nicholls, Steven Rice and Louie Debrusk. He was named captain in his first home game as a Ranger on October 7, 1991 following his Rangers debut in Montreal, on October 5. In his first season with the club, Messier guided the team to the President's Trophy, leading the team in scoring with 107 points and capturing his second Hart Trophy. He set a Rangers record for most assists by a center, with 72, while becoming just the fifth player in franchise history to reach the 100-point plateau.
In 1993-94, Messier led the Rangers to the team's second President's Trophy in three seasons and carried the Rangers to its first Stanley Cup Championship in 54 years. He set a Rangers playoff record with 12 post-season goals, including the Stanley Cup winning tally on June 14, 1994, as the Rangers defeated Vancouver, 3-2, to win Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. Messier, who ranks seventh all-time with four career playoff hat tricks, recorded his most memorable three or more goal game on May 25, 1994, at New Jersey in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals, netting three goals, including the game-tying and game-winning tallies. He ranks second on the Rangers all-time playoff scoring list with 80 points, placing second in goals (29) and assists (51).
A four-time NHL First Team All-Star and two-time winner of the Lester B. Pearson Award as the league MVP as voted by the players, Messier ranks sixth on the Rangers all-time scoring list with 691 points. Named the club's MVP in 1992, 1995 and 1996, he places eighth all-time in goals with 250 and seventh in assists with 441. Messier holds Rangers club records for Most Game Winning Goals, Playoff Year (four, '94), Most Points, Playoff Series (11, '94 Conference Finals), Most Shorthanded Goals, Single Game (two, Apr. 21, 1992 vs. New Jersey) and Most Goals, One Period (three, May 25, 1994 at New Jersey).
Messier, a two-time recipient of the Hart Trophy, as the league's Most Valuable Player ('90, '92), has appeared in the second most playoff contests in National Hockey League history (236) and also ranks second in goals (109), assists (186) and points (295). The winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1984 as the Most Valuable Player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Messier is a six-time Stanley Cup Champion, captaining the 1990 Edmonton Oilers and the 1994 New York Rangers. Messier is the first player to have served as captain for two different teams winning the Stanley Cup.
The native of Edmonton, Alberta will join Rod Gilbert (7), Eddie Giacomin (1) and Messier's former teammate, Mike Richter (35), as the only Rangers players to have their jersey numbers retired. Gilbert's #7 was first to ascend to the Garden's rafter on March 9, 1977, followed by Giacomin's #1 on March 15, 1989 and Richter's #35 on February 4, 2004. In addition, Messier's jersey number will be among nine New York Knickerbockers that have been remembered in the ceiling of The World's Most Famous Arena. Former Knicks Dick Barnett (12), Earl Monroe (15), Dick McGuire (15), Willis Reed (19), Dave DeBusschere (22), Bill Bradley (24) and most recently Patrick Ewing (33) have all had the numbers honored by the team, along with Hall-of-Fame coach Red Holzman (613).
A limited number of tickets are still available for the January 12 game vs. Edmonton. For all ticket information, log on to newyorkrangers.com or call Ticketmaster at (212) 307-7171, (201) 507-8900, (609) 520-8383, (631) 888-9000, (845) 454-3388 or (860) 525-4500.