Former Rangers coach elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Mike Keenan is not in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but his successor as coach with the New York Rangers now will be.

Colin Campbell is one of seven members of the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2024, announced on Tuesday. He was elected in the builder’s category along with former Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators general manager David Poile.

They are joined by five players, three from the NHL and two women’s legends. Named from the NHL were two-time Stanley Cup Winner Pavel Datsyuk, former Predators captain Shea Weber and former Chicago Blackhawks star Jeremy Roenick. Natalie Darwitz and Kristy Wendell-Phil also were selected.

Campbell becomes the 65th member of the Hockey Hall of Fame with ties to the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist was the most recent New York Ranger inducted in the Hall last Fall; and before him the most recent person with ties to the organization who was inducted was Kevin Lowe in 2020.

Related: Rangers most likely to next be elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

Former Rangers coach Colin Campbell joins Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2024

Colin Campbell head shot photo with New York Rangers in 1990s

Campbell joined the Rangers as associate coach in 1991-92, when the Blueshirts won the Presidents’ Trophy. He began the next season in the same position before being named coach of Binghamton in the American Hockey League, when its coach, Ron Smith, was promoted to New York to replace fired head coach Roger Neilson.

But Campbell was back in New York in 1993-94, again as associate coach, this time under Keenan. Again the Rangers won the Presidents’ Trophy, and Campbell played a key role as an intermediary between the volatile Keenan and the players.

Campbell won his only Stanley Cup championship in 1994 when the Rangers ended their 54-year drought.

After Keenan departed in a messy divorce after the Cup win, Campbell was promoted to head coach. by the Rangers. He took over in the strike-shortened 1995 season and remained coach until being fired and replaced by John Muckler during the 1997-98 season.

Campbell was 118-108 with 43 ties in 269 games as Rangers coach. He led them into the Stanley Cup Playoffs three straight seasons, including the Eastern Conference Final in 1997.

After being fired as Rangers coach, Campbell joined the NHL league office and has worked there since in a variety of roles. He is currently an executive VP for the NHL and its director of hockey operations.

“An accomplished junior player, Campbell forged an 11-year NHL playing career as a rugged defenseman out of relentless dedication to his craft and selfless willingness to battle for his teammates,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “As an assistant coach, he made essential contributions to building the foundation for what would become a dynasty in Detroit and then partnered with Mike Keenan to lead the New York Rangers to their championship in 1994.

“As head coach of the Rangers, Campbell engineered playoff upsets in each of his first three seasons, guiding New York to the 1997 Eastern Conference Final.”

Prior to joining the Blueshirts, Campbell played 636 NHL games as defenseman for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Rockies, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings. He was also an assistant coach with the Red Wings.

Campbell’s son. Gregory Campbell, is a former NHL player and current assistant general manager with the Florida Panthers, who won the Stanley Cup less than 24 hours prior to the Hockey Hall of Fame announcement, making for quite a 24-hour window for the Campbell family.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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