Lesser Known Rangers – Volume 6
90 years of existence, the Rangers have had a plethora of players come and go through the gates of Madison Square Garden. Some names are known and some not so popular and some you probably had no idea played for the Rangers or didn’t even remember their time here. Lesser Known Rangers dives into this topic by looking into players to whom you had no idea donned a Blueshirt. So strap yourselves in and prepare to take a trip down obscure hockey player avenue! Let’s begin!
Vic Howe, Right Wing
Time with Rangers – 33 games for the Rangers over three seasons from 1951-1955
As previously mentioned, the Rangers always seem to be on the wrong side of the sibling spectrum (Marcel Hossa, Fedor Fedorov). It seems that this trend goes all the way back to the 50s, as the Rangers had hockey great Gordie Howe’s brother, Vic. Vic Howe was a career minor leaguer throughout the United States and Canada. His best statistical season was in 1950-51 for the EHL’s New York Rovers.
Over the span of 14 career seasons, three of those were spent with the New York Rangers, amassing a total of 33 games, with seven points (3G and 4A). We have proof of him donning a Rangers uniform, as he is pictured above with his brother, Gordie. More than likely, he would have never had his picture taken had Gordie not been in the photo. Maybe I’m wrong, that’s just an assumption.
He retired from hockey in 1956-57 but briefly came out of retirement to play in a senior league during the 1961-62 season. After his retirement, Howe began to work as a constable with the CNRP (Canadian National Railway Police) in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Sadly, Vic Howe died on January 31, 2015.
Roman Hamrlik, Defenseman
Time with Rangers – 12 regular season games and 2 playoff games during the 2012-13 season.
Drafted first overall in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by Tampa Bay, Hamrlik became an accomplished defenseman throughout the league for many years with many teams, including the Tampa Bay Lightning, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens. Overall, he played over 1300 games during his career and played in three NHL All-Star Games, in 1996, 1999 and 2003.
Hamrlik has also represented the Czech Republic on a few occasions in international competition, including the 1998 Winter Olympics, where he was part of the gold medal-winning Czech team. He also participated in the 2002 Winter Olympics, as well as two IIHF World Championships, in 1994 and 2004, along with two World Cup of Hockey tournaments, in 1996 and 2004.
After four seasons with Montreal, Hamrlik signed with the Capitals in the summer of 2011. During the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13, Hamrlik’s role was limited and was placed on waivers by Washington on March 5th. The Rangers claimed him off waivers the very next day, hoping he could bring some grit and experience on the back end as well as someone to step in place for the injured Marc Staal.
Unfortunately, he only dressed in 12 games as a Ranger that season, garnering no points and a plus/minus of -3. Hamrlik clearly was showing signs of regressing, which included his lack of speed on the ice as well as being scratched for two games for being out of shape by then-coach John Tortorella. Recently acquired John Moore took his place and cemented his spot in the lineup and Hamrlik’s seat in the press box. Hamrlik did play in two postseason games that year, registered an assist but that would be it for his time as a Ranger.
Hamrlik announced his retirement from hockey on October 21st, 2013.
Bobby Hull, Left Wing
Time with Rangers – 5 exhibition games in September 1981
When you think Bobby Hull, what comes to your mind? Hall of Famer? Chicago Blackhawks? Winnipeg Jets? Curved stick? Ask yourself this question. Done?
Good. I’m almost positive that none of what you thought of was “Bobby Hull, Rangers”
In 15 seasons with the Blackhawks, Hull scored 1170 points, part of that being 610 goals, placing himself third among all National Hockey League goal-scorers at the time Hull decided to make a comeback in 1981. In seven seasons with Winnipeg, then in the WHA, he lit up the league by putting up 638 points, including 303 goals, in 411 games.
Knocked down by injuries and age, Hull played only a few games in the WHA’s final season of 1978–79. However, after the WHA/NHL merger (Jets, Oilers, Nordiques, Whalers would be absorbed into the NHL), Hull came out of retirement to play once more for the Jets. He played in eighteen games before being traded to the Whalers for future considerations and played well in nine games and three playoff games before leaving the game once more to care for a friend who had been injured in a car accident.
This is where the Rangers come into play. In September 1981, Bobby Hull attempted one final comeback with the New York Rangers at the ripe old age of 42. Coach Herb Brooks applauded Hull’s energy and skill, as it seemed like he wanted to stick with the Rangers.
But Hull, who is 42 years old now and has not played hockey since the spring of 1980, when he left the New England Whalers, was clearly trying to make the Rangers as eagerly as any rookie. In today’s scrimmage, he played with abandon and sustained a cut from a stick over his left eye.
”Look at him out there,” said Brooks. ”He’s happy to be here. He’s youthful, psychologically.” James F. Clarity/NY Times
Unfortunately, it was a brief attempt that only lasted five exhibition games before Hull and the Rangers both mutually decided it was best to end this comeback. Hull had one goal, and one assist in those five games. Just imagine if Hull had worked out and made the team. He would have been on a line with Ulf Nilsson and Anders Hedberg and I’m positive that if Hull had reached into the fountain of youth and tapped into his old scoring ways, the Rangers could’ve had something special. One can dream, though.