A look back on the New York Rangers epic ceremony for Henrik Lundqvist
On January 28, 2022, the New York Rangers honored Henrik Lundqvist by retiring his #30 to the Madison Square Garden Rafters,
The ceremony began with another Rangers great goaltender in Mike Richter getting the fans ready for the festivities. He introduced a tribute video with greats from the hockey, sports, and celebrity world congratulating Hank.
Sam Rosen was the master of ceremonies and introduced some Rangers legends, who were in attendance for the event. As expected Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, Mike Richter, and Mark Messier all came out to a standing ovation.
Next up were Henrik’s mother and father, followed by his sister and twin brother. Hank’s wife and children would come out next as they waited in anticipation for the man of the hour.
Henrik Lundqvist honored by New York Rangers
As chants of “HEN-RIK” rained down, Henrik Lundqvist came out tapping his heart and waving to the Garden Faithful with watery eyes. He kissed his wife and children, shook hands with the heroes of 94, and hugged his family before sitting down to a video paying homage to his amazing career.
Sam then spent several minutes rattling off his amazing accomplishments on the ice including being the winningest European-born goalie in history. He was also acknowledged for his charitable work that is highlighted by The Garden of Dreams and Henrik Lundqvist Foundation.
Henrik also received some gifts from special guests:
- John McEnroe brought out an incredible guitar painted by Hank’s goalie mask artist Dave Gunnarsson
- Rangers equipment manager Acacio Marques gifted Hank with framed game pucks he collected of his shutouts
- Then the current Rangers assistant captains gifted Hank with special wine to honor his tradition of giving out bottles after wins
- MSG and the NYR gave Lundqvist a custom Louis Vuitton travel trunk
Celebrating Henrik Lundqvist
Former teammate, Kevin Weekes took over for Sam Rosen to talk about Hank’s greatness. He recalled a story of friends playing in Sweden that called him up and said, “‘Weeksie, this guy’s good!'” At the time, Weekes was the Rangers starter and was getting a warning about the team’s new prospect in net.
“All the greats play the Garden, but very few have played and dominated the way you have,” he said in closing. “Next stop, the Hockey Hall of Fame.”
With the crowd roaring as Lundqvist came to the podium, he soaked in the moment.
“I miss you guys! I really do,” he said.
“The pursuit of becoming the best was always part of my journey,” Lundqvist told the Garden Faithful. “When I look back at my 15 years here, what gives me the most satisfaction is not the wins or the personal recognition, but it is really the commitment. The commitment I felt for the New York Rangers and the commitment they showed me for so long.”
Hank told the fans how the Garden and its fans both scared and inspired him. He recalled coming over from Sweden and his intense preparation that made pregame conversations with teammates brief.
The camera then panned to Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider who smirked at each other. Henrik caught a glimpse of that on the Jumbotron and laughed too.
Henrik continuously called his career a journey and expressed gratitude for the night. “I’m so happy that I get an opportunity to say thank you,” he said. “It’s been an amazing experience.
“While I reflect on my time here in New York, everything I experienced, the people I met, and what the game has given me, I keep coming back to one feeling– gratitude,” he said. “I feel so grateful for everything this organization has given me, supporting me and my family.”
Then came the moment.
Henrik, along with his wife Therese and their two daughters walked the carpet to the end of the ice. There was the Vezina Trophy right, Steven MacDonald Award left, and in the middle the Rangers logo.
With a blanket of smoke, Henrik’s number 30 appeared from behind and rose to the Garden rafters. Henrik smiled, teared up, and looked at his family with the gratitude he spoke so much of.
Lundqvist beamed with pride as his watery eyes were delighted by the sight of his #30 being raised to the Madison Square Garden rafters.
The ceremony ended with the heroes of 1994 handing Hank his jersey one last time.
Long Live the King
Lundqvist will always be remembered for carrying the team on numerous occasions, in particular the 2014 Stanley Cup run that fell short. He is and always will be one of the best Blueshirts of all-time.
The 39 year-old goalie ended his NHL career with a record of 459-310-96, a .916 SV% and a GAA of 2.43 with 64 shutouts. Simply remarkable numbers.
The King leads the Rangers in the following categories for goalies:
- Most game played 887
- Most wins 459
- Best GAA (min 325 starts) 2.43
- Best SV% (min 100 starts) .918
- Shutouts 64
- Most points 27
- Playoff games 130
- Playoff wins 61
- Most playoff shutouts 10
In the end, having his jersey retired was just another crowning achievement in a brilliant and compassionate career that spanned 15 years. All of them with the New York Rangers.
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