Hartford Wolf Pack Vice President and General Manager Al Coates announced today that the parent New York Rangers will exercise their option on Wolf Pack captain Ken Gernander, retaining Gernander's services for the 2003-04 season.
"Ken Gernander is the only captain that this team has ever had and he has continued to be the premier leader in the American Hockey League this season," Coates said. "He has done a great job of keeping our team on the right track through a year that has been full of change."
Gernander, 33, is currently in his ninth season with the Ranger organization, and his eighth as captain of the Rangers' top developmental team. In 57 matches this season, he has registered 16 goals and 13 assists for 29 points, along with 20 penalty minutes. Gernander currently ranks sixth on the team with 16 goals and 29 points. His plus-14 rating is tied for third on the team. During this season, he has skated in his 800th professional match, his 800th career AHL game and his 400th Wolf Pack contest.
A 12-year professional veteran, Gernander has served as captain of the Wolf Pack for their entire history and is the only player to have played for the team in each of their six seasons. He is the franchise's career leader with 441 games played and ranks second in team history with 142 goals. Additionally, he ranks third on the all-time franchise scoring list with 296 points.
The 5-11, 180-pounder has skated in three AHL All-Star Classics (1996, 1999 and 2000), serving as captain of the PlanetUSA squad at the 1999 event. In 1996, Gernander was selected as the recipient of the AHL's Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award, given annually for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey. He has also skated with the AHL's Moncton Hawks and the Fort Wayne Komets of the International Hockey League (IHL). Prior to his professional career, Gernander spent four seasons at the University of Minnesota from 1987-1991.
The Coleraine, Minnesota native was originally drafted by the Winnipeg Jets as their ninth round choice, 96th overall, in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. He was signed as a free agent by the Rangers on July 4, 1994. Gernander has appeared in 10 career NHL contests with the Rangers, tallying two goals and three assists for five points, along with four penalty minutes. He has also skated in 15 playoff matches for New York during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 post-seasons.