New York Rangers President, General Manager and Head Coach Glen Sather announced today that the organization will retire jersey No. 35 in honor of Rangers great Mike Richter in an on-ice ceremony prior to the Rangers - Minnesota Wild game on Wednesday, February 4, 2004.
"Mike Richter is synonymous with all that it means to be a New York Ranger," stated Sather. "To be able to play your entire career for the same organization and to do it with such success on the ice and thoughtfulness in the community is a model for all professional athletes. There is not a more appropriate honor to bestow upon Mike than to have his number take its rightful place in the rafters of Madison Square Garden with the other greats of our franchise."
Richter, who retired from professional hockey today after an illustrious 15-year career that saw him play every game as a New York Ranger, ranks as the all-time winningest goaltender in franchise history. Richter established himself as the greatest goaltender to ever protect the Rangers net, recording 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.
"Having been fortunate to be a New York Ranger my entire career, I understand what an honor and privilege it is to have your jersey number retired," Richter said. "New York City and Madison Square Garden are places that I'll always call home because of the great memories, the great teammates and great fans that are here. I'd like to thank the Rangers organization for this special gesture and thank the best fans in the world for their support during my career."
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. 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. 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) and most minutes in a playoff season (1,477). He also tied for most shutouts in a playoff season (four). 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. the Islanders on April 17 and 18 at Madison Square Garden.
The native of Abington, Pennsylvania will join Rod Gilbert (7) and Eddie Giacomin (1) 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. In addition, Richter'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).