The word captain is defined as, “One who commands, leads, or guides others, especially the designated leader of a team or crew in sports.”
This is the person who is looked up to and respected by his teammates and coaches as well as being the coach’s representative on the ice. The player who is always the first one on his team to touch and lift the Stanley Cup Trophy.
The New York Rangers in their history have had 25 guys who have commanded, led and guided others but 26 captains. Before the start of this season they will pick a 27th as they look to replace their most recent captain, Chris Drury.
Mark Messier has the distinction of being the only player to wear the captain’s “C” twice over two different time periods. He was captain from ’91-’97 and again from 2000 until 2004.
When the Rangers were down 3-2 to the New Jersey Devils in the 1994 Stanley Cup Conference Finals, it was the captain who guaranteed a win. Messier almost single-handedly defeated the Devils and then following a tough seven game final series against Vancouver, raised the Cup and brought it to his teammates.
Andy Bathgate and Harry Howell are beloved former players who both wore the C. Follow the jump to watch a clip from Feb 22, 2009 when Bathgate (9) and Howell’s (3) numbers were retired and raised to the rafters of Madison Square Garden.
The first captain of the Rangers was Bill Cook from 1926-7 to 1937.
On February 4, 1965, Camille Henry wore the C but beginning Feb 5, that honour belonged to Bob Nevin, traded to the Rangers the year before by Toronto for two players, including Andy Bathgate.
What current Ranger emboldens the attributes of a captain? That’s a discussion that I’ll leave for my colleagues on this blog.
But whoever is given that honour will join a list of proud and revered NY Ranger hockey players.