Step into the extraordinary journey of Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers’ iconic King, from Sweden’s small town to MSG and now, the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The King, Henrik Lundqvist, officially became a Hall of Famer on Monday night. From a tiny town in Sweden to Madison Square Garden and now the Hockey Hall of Fame, “When I think about how it started… it’s just an incredible feeling”, Lundqvist said in his speech, wearing his Hall of Fame blazer.
As Rangers fans, we’ve been through it all with Henrik. He was picked in the 7th round of the 2000 NHL draft and debuted in 2005. The Vezina Trophy in 2012, the gold medals for Sweden in the 2006 Olympics, and the 2017 World Championship, and the record-breaking 459 NHL victories.
Let’s not forget the heartbreak of that 2014 Stanley Cup Finals. As Hall of Famer Larry Brooks wrote, “The Cup should have been overflowing, not empty.” The Blueshirts went 15-4 in elimination games from 2012-2015. Lundqvist recorded a 1.74 goals against average and a .953 save percentage in those contests. He went 6-2 in Games 7, an NHL record, with a .961 save percentage and 1.11 GAA.
An Ode to Lundqvist: From Iconic Saves to the Halls of Immortality:
Hank didn’t just stop at being the face of the Rangers; he’s practically the unofficial ambassador of NYC. Lundqvist was sentimental, saying, “It feels like home.” Considering he’s a New York icon, who can blame him?
The iconic “HEN-RIK” chants filled the air as he departed the stage. It’s like the entire Rangers fandom collectively decided to serenade him, just like they did at his Jersey retirement in January of last year. It was a reminder of the good old times when he closed out games with flair.
In the middle of all the heartfelt stuff, Hank shouted out those who helped him in the Rangers organization. “I want to thank Mr. Jim Dolan, Chris Drury, and Glen Sather.” Yet the real MVP of Lundqvist’s career was goaltending coach Benoit Allaire, who worked with him every day of his 15-year career.
Lundqvist, the first-ballot Hall of Fame king, took his well-deserved place among the greats. He took his place as part of the Hall of Fame class of 2023 alongside Pierre Turgeon, Caroline Ouellette, Tom Barrasso, Mike Vernon, Ken Hitchcock, and the late Pierre Lacroix. That said, it’s clear who the star of the weekend was, both on and off the ice. After a shutout, Hank earned the first star in the Legends Classic on Sunday.
He got the call to the hall on his first try. The others had to wait a bit. It was fitting that he spoke last, closing out the festivities with a flourish.
Who knew a kid from Sweden would become the King of New York and a legend in the hockey world? Hockey’s got its royalty, and we’re just glad Hank is wearing the crown. Cheers to the King!