Stephane Matteau, friends celebrate 30th anniversary of iconic Rangers goal

Matteau Foundation event 2024
Credit: Jim Cerny

NEW YORK — It was 30 years ago today, May 27, 1994, that Stephane Matteau’s life forever changed and became intertwined in New York Rangers history along with radio broadcaster Howie Rose.

It is impossible to talk about the most memorable goals in Rangers history without mentioning Matteau’s Game 7 double-overtime winner over the New Jersey Devils in the 1994 Eastern Conference Final. And Rose’s famous call fits hand in glove with the iconic Madison Square Garden moment.

One of the more unlikely players to get it done after being benched for stretches of Game 7 by Rangers coach Mike Keenan, Matteau beat Scott Niedermeyer to a loose puck in the corner, “swooped around the net” to use Rose’s words, and squeaked a wraparound past future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur sending The Garden into pandemonium.

“Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!” still echoes throughout MSG 30 years later, thanks to Rose, and Matteau himself.

Not only was it a double-overtime goal in the playoffs, but the epic 2-1 win punched the Rangers ticket to the Stanley Cup Final, which, of course, they would go on to win over the Vancouver Canucks in seven games, ending a 54-year Cup drought.

It was one of five goals that Matteau would score that spring on the way to capturing the ultimate prize, and his second overtime winner of the series. The first was also in double-OT at the Meadowlands in Game 3. Matteau, who was brought in from the Chicago Blackhawks along witgh Brian Noonan in a trade for Tony Amonte ahead of the trade deadline, quickly became one of the most important names in Rangers history in a very short period of time.

“It’s amazing,” Rangers goaltender and 1994 cup winner Mike Richter said last week. “It was so well said. ‘One more hill to climb’.”

WATCH: Stephane Matteau discusses iconic 1994 goal, 2024 playoffs with Forever Blueshirts

Rangers legends gather to celebrate Stephane Matteau and his foundation

1994 Stanley Cup champions Mike Richter, Stephane Matteau, Adam Graves. Photo: Jim Cerny

To celebrate the anniversary of the legendary goal, the Stephane Matteau Foundation held a charity event in Manhattan last week, bringing a panel of special people in Matteau’s hockey life to speak on not only the goal, but share memories of the 1994 Stanley Cup run, and speak about what Matteau has done for the community since retiring in 2003. Proceeds from the event, which included an auction of sports memorabilia, went to the foundation as well as the Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Urology with bladder cancer research, in the name of Rose, who recently won his battle against the disease.

Up on the stage at the Bohemian Hall in New York City sat an incredible panel consisting of Matteau, Rose, Rangers legends Richter and Adam Graves, former Devils forward Jim Dowd and Hockey Hall of Famer Pierre Turgeon, who played for the New York Islanders in 1994.

If not for the iconic call from Rose on Matteau’s goal against New Jersey, it is possible that his foundation would never have been created. The call brought everyone together in a way that no call has before.

“My name will always be linked to his name, and vice versa,” Matteau said.

The call by Rose established a lifelong friendship between the broadcaster and members of the 1994 team. Whether it be hosting events, playing a round of golf, or just talking to catch up, the call and the moment have linked them together forever.

“Howie is a part of the family,” Graves stated.

Of the other panel members, Richter and Graves were teammates of Matteau on that 1994 squad. Turgeon is a long time friend of Matteau. They grew up together playing peewee hockey and in the Little League World Series, and have been friends ever since. Dowd was on the ice for the Devils when Matteau scored his famous goal and went on to win the Cup himself with New Jersey the following season.

The call by Rose has allowed Matteau to use his name for a greater purpose, and create the Stephane Matteau Foundation, which works with over 30 schools in the New York City and Pennsylvania areas. His foundation also makes incredible charitable donations.

“The last 10 years have just been amazing,” Matteau explained. “I have my school programs here in New York. That goal, the call, led me to doors I don’t think I would have been able to get in. I’m very grateful for those moments.”

The night was filled with joking banter, stories of the 1994 squad, and kind remarks from those closely involved with Matteau and the Rangers alumni. Although unable to attend, 1994 Stanley Cup heroes Mark Messier and Eddie Olczyk recorded videos that were played for the crowd on hand.

However, no guest was more special to Matteau than his mother, who surprised him at the event. According to Matteau, it was the first time he had seen her in four years. The event really was about bringing everyone together, and it accomplished just that.

Thirty years after the goal and iconic call by Rose, lives are still being touched and impacted for the better thanks to the work of Matteau, his foundation, and those who are closest to him. Even Matteau himself has forgotten what his first name sounds like since the call.

“I think the biggest issue I have with that goal is that if we say ‘Steph,’ he doesn’t listen,” Graves joked. “We have to say: ‘Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!'”

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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