New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter announced his retirement today, ending his illustrious 15-year National Hockey League career. He retires as the all-time winningest goaltender in franchise history and brings to a conclusion the most accomplished and decorated goaltending career on Broadway, which was highlighted by the 1994 Stanley Cup championship.
Richter became a member of the Rangers organization when he was selected as the club's second round choice, 28th overall, in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft on June 15, 1985. He made his debut on Broadway as the starting goaltender vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 9, 1989 in Game Four of the Division Semifinals. Richter captured his first NHL victory with a 7-3 decision over the Hartford Whalers at Madison Square Garden on October 19, 1989 in his regular season debut as a starter. Over the next 740 games and 42,581 minutes played, Richter established himself as the greatest goaltender to ever protect the Rangers net, establishing eight regular season records and five post-season marks. He stands as the Rangers all-time goaltending leader in regular season victories (301), appearances (666) and minutes played (38,185), as well as most wins (41) and shutouts (nine) in the post-season.
During his 15 seasons with the Rangers, the 5-10, 190-pounder posted a career record of 301-258-73 in 666 appearances, along with a 2.89 goals against average, .904 save percentage along with 24 shutouts. Richter established career-bests in several categories during the 1993-94 season, when he posted 42 victories, a 2.57 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. He was a three-time NHL All-Star (1992, 1994 and 2000) and received the MVP award at the 1994 All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden.
In addition to his career records with the Rangers, Richter also established several single season and single game regular season marks, including: most games in a season (72, 1997-98), most wins in a season (42, 1993-94), most wins in a season, including playoffs (58, 1993-94), most assists by a goaltender in a season, tied with one other (five, 1992-93), highest save percentage (.917, 1996-97), most saves in a game (59, January 31, 1991 at Vancouver), most assists in a game, tied with two others (two, February 23, 1990 at Washington and October 29, 1992 vs. Quebec).
In 76 playoff outings, Richter fashioned a 41-33 mark, along with a 2.68 goals against average and nine shutouts. Richter was a major contributor to the club's run to the 1994 Stanley Cup championship, posting multiple single season playoff records that year, including: most wins in a playoff season (16), most minutes in a playoff season (1,477) and most shutouts in a playoff season, tied with one other (four). In addition, his 2.07 goals against average ranked third in the NHL that season and his .921 save percentage ranked fourth overall. Richter began the 1994 playoff run by winning the first seven matches, including consecutive 6-0 shutouts in Games One and Two of the Conference Quarterfinals vs. Long Island on April 17 and 18 at Madison Square Garden. It was just the second time in franchise history that a goaltender had posted back-to-back shutouts in post-season action, joining Davey Kerr who posted consecutive 1-0 victories over the Boston Bruins on March 26 and 28, 1940.
Internationally, Richter was a member of Team USA at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. At the 2002 Olympic Games, he helped the United States capture a silver medal and was named to the All-Tournament Team after posting a 2-1-1 mark, along with a 2.25 goals against average. Richter also represented the United States at the 1986 and 1987 World Junior Championships, the 1991 Canada Cup and the 1993 World Championships. Richter helped lead Team USA to the championship at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and was named tournament MVP. He was named recipient of the 1996 Bob Johnson Award, recognizing excellence in international competition during a specific season. In June of 1997, he was one of 12 players named to the all-time USA Hockey Team, along with teammate Brian Leetch.
Upon making New York City his year-round home early in his career, Richter embraced the metropolitan area and worked extensively with a variety of charitable organizations. In 1995, he was recognized with two prestigious civic awards: the Thurman Munson Award for his considerable charity work and the Sloan Kettering Award of Courage for his work with the hospital. After receiving a Harley Davidson motorcycle as MVP of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, Richter auctioned the bike off with proceeds benefiting pediatric patients at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. In 1997, he was recognized for his service to New York youngsters with the "Crumb Bum" award.
Prior to joining the professional ranks, the Abington, Pennsylvania native played two seasons at the University of Wisconsin of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), where he was Freshman of the Year in the WCHA in 1985-86 and named to the WCHA All-Academic team in 1986-87.