MIKE RICHTER NIGHT presented by NEXTEL
Mike Richter met with members of the New York media earlier today, 24 hours before he will be showered with cheers as he watches his #35 raised to the Madison Square Garden rafters in one of the truly special nights in Rangers history.
Have you been thinking a lot about the ceremony lately?Mike Richter:
I think in the last week that's when I really started. It seems like there was a lot of stuff going on before then, and all of a sudden it's upon us. It's exciting, sobering and all of those things. I think it means a heck of a lot more to me now than the time it was announced. Back in September, I was really in a situation where I was coming to grips with the ending. This is something where I don't think I can fully prepare for it. I have not really seen many other guys have their jerseys retired. I know Cam Neely's number was retired recently. I didn't see the ceremony and don't know quite what to expect. But, it did start to sink in there a little more. I just feel excited and proud about it.Q:
Do you have an outline of what you would like to say to the fans?Mike Richter:
Honestly, the hardest part will be just trying to say everything you want to say in that period without boring the heck out of the entire building. There are a lot of people that you feel so indebted to, within the organization on out. The fans themselves of course - what athlete can't stand there and say he's had support and all of the other cliches. It's probably a bit boring to hear, but these are real things. There are people who have helped (me) along the way and I think that you are trying to actually get the fans' attention and say, "look you meant an awful lot to me and still do."
It's nice to have the forum in which to do it, so I'm really thankful for that. But at the same time, you'd like to say something that's not so long-winded. I think it's particularly true in my case. I've had great teachers, friends and the fans. New York has been a place that very has much made me who I am. I have spent my adult life here. These people that you interact with everyday ... that's your experience. For me, I was very lucky. One team. One city. It has very much defined who I am. To have all of these experiences here in such a diverse and big place is amazing. How do you speak to all that in five minutes and really have an impact? So that's the toughest part.