New York Rangers to Retire Jean Ratelle’s Number 19

2002 Season: Jean Ratelle beats Gerry Desjardins as Keith Magnuson and Eric Nesterenko defend, 1-17-71. (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)
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The New York Rangers officially announced Monday that legendary Blueshirt centerman Jean Ratelle will have his jersey number 19 raised to the rafters of Madison Square Garden. The prestigious ceremony will take place on February 25, 2018, when the Rangers take on the Detroit Red Wings. Ratelle will be joining Rangers players Mark Messier, Rod Gilbert, Ed Giacomin, Adam Graves, Brian Leetch, Harry Howell, Andy Bathgate, and Mike Richter to have their jersey numbers raised to the rafters.

Rangers to Retire Jean Ratelle’s Number 19

“Jean Ratelle is truly one of the greatest players to have ever played for the New York Rangers, Rangers President Glen Sather said in a statement released by the team. 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.”

Jean Ratelle played 16 seasons with the New York Rangers (1960/61-1975/76), playing in a total of 862 games. In those contests, he scored a total of 817 points (336 goals, 481 assists). Ratelle ranks second on the Rangers’ all-time goals list, third on the franchise’s all-time assists list and all-time points list, and also ranks sixth in career games played in a New York Rangers sweater.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985, is a five time National Hockey League All-Star, and is a four time NHL award winner (Lady Byng in 1971-72 and 1975-76, Bill Masterton in 1970-71, and the Lester B. Preston Award in 1970-71). Ratelle was also a member of the famed “GAG” line, standing for “goal-a-game”, in which he centered Vic Hadfield and Rod Gilbert through the late 1960s and ’70s. He was named to the NHL’s Top 100 players list this past year as well.

“To have your sweater retired is the greatest honor a player can receive. You could not ask for more than that,” Ratelle told The NY Post upon learning of the announcement. “I’m really looking forward to being back at the Garden. My family will be with me. I’m going to enjoy it.”

Ratelle is a fan-favorite among the Garden Faithful. He played a great game of hockey and was known for his long, graceful strides and skillful style. Though he was never apart of a Stanley Cup winning team in New York, he will forever remain an icon to all Blueshirts fans, and having his number 19 retired is the most highest honor, one that Ratelle deserves to the fullest.

All in all, Ratelle skated in a grand total of 1281 NHL games, scoring 491 goals and adding 776 assists for a sum of 1267 points. Along with playing in a Rangers sweatshirt, Ratelle also played for the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs towards the end of his career, after his time in New York After his playing career was up, he headed behind the bench as an assistant coach for the Bruins from 1981 until 1985.

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