Rangers to retire Ratelle's jersey

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[August 29, 2017]  The Sports Xchange

The New York Rangers will honor the legendary Jean Ratelle by retiring his No. 19 jersey in an on-ice ceremony prior to the team's game against the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 25.

A five-time NHL All-Star and Hockey Hall of Fame member, Ratelle will be the ninth Ranger to have his number retired. He will join Rod Gilbert (7), Ed Giacomin (1), Mike Richter (35), Mark Messier (11), Brian Leetch (2), Adam Graves (9), Andy Bathgate (9) and Harry Howell (3) with that honor.

Ratelle played in parts of 16 seasons with New York from 1960-1976, recording 336 goals, 481 assists and a plus-167 rating in 861 career contests. His goal total is second-best in franchise history, his number of assists and points (817) are third and his games played total (861) ranks sixth.

"Jean Ratelle is truly one of the greatest players to have ever played for the New York Rangers," Rangers president Glen Sather said. "Few players have demonstrated the class, dignity, and gracefulness that Jean possessed throughout his career, both on and off the ice.

"I had the good fortune to call Jean a teammate with the Rangers, I am proud to still call Jean a friend, and I am honored to announce that he will take his rightful place in the rafters of Madison Square Garden."

The center on the Rangers' famed Goal-A-Game Line, Ratelle joined left wing Vic Hadfield and right wing Rod Gilbert in ranking third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the league in points during the 1971-72 regular season.

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Ratelle collected 109 points (46 goals, 63 assists) and posted a plus-61 rating in 63 games during that season, becoming the first member of the Rangers to reach triple digits in points in a season.

He received the Lester B. Pearson Award (since renamed the Ted Lindsay Award) as the NHL's Most Outstanding Player, which was selected by the National Hockey League Players' Association in 1971-72.

Ratelle also received the Lady Byng Trophy on two occasions (1971-72, 1975-76) for being the player "adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

He also received the Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded annually to the player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey," in 1970-71.

Ratelle notched 491 goals, 776 assists and a plus-295 rating in 1,280 career games with the Rangers and Boston Bruins.


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