For the second time in their history, the New York Rangers retire No. 11, this time it was for “The Ultimate Teammate” aka Vic Hadfield.
Prior to their game against the Winnipeg Jets, the New York Rangers held a ceremony honoring Vic Hadfield and raising his No. 11 to the rafters of Madison Square Garden. Hadfield now joins Eddie Giacomin, Brian Leetch, Harry Howell, Rod Gilbert, Andy Bathgate, Adam Graves, Mark Messier, Jean Ratelle, and Mike Richter as the 10th Ranger to have his number retired.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 2, 2018
“This is the highest honor a player can receive, and thank you again from the bottom of my heart,” Hadfield told the crowd at Madison Square Garden. “To the New York Rangers and their great fans, you all have a special place in my heart.”
Each Ranger with his jersey retired was in attendance to support Hadfield, with the exception of Bathgate and Howell. Many of Hadfield’s former teammates made appearances. Ron Greschner, Steve Vickers, Bob Nevin, Bruce MacGregor, Ted Irvine, Bill Fairbairn, Pete Stemkowski, Walt Tkaczuk, Jim Neilson and Brad Park were all in the building.
Hadfield was presented a watch from his former linemates with “The Ultimate Teammate” engraved in it. The Rangers current alternate captains, Marc Staal, Jesper Fast, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, and Mika Zibanejad, presented Hadfield with a dasher board with all the names of his Ranger teammates.
Presenting Hadfield his final gift was his coach Emile Francis. Francis presented Hadfield a five-day cruise on behalf of Royal Carribean. Following the gifts, Hadfield introduced his linemates Gilbert and Ratelle to give speeches.
“The three of us are pretty humble of our success,” Gilbert said in his speech. “But this recognition means a lot to us collectively. Believe me.”
With his No. 11 retired, Hadfield joins his linemates Gilbert and Ratelle as the Rangers have now retired all the numbers of the G-A-G Line.
“A special thanks to Rod and Jean, I certainly would not be here without you,” Hadfield told his linemates.
The G-A-G line along with members of the Hadfield family then brought Vic’s 11 to the Rangers’ end of the ice where it was raised to the rafters.
“Vic, your number will grace the Garden rafters forever,” Sam Rosen told Hadfield right before it was raised in between the numbers seven and 19.
The Rangers presented Hadfield with a jersey once his number was in its rightful place above the Garden. He then took pictures with the rest of the immortalized Rangers and his old coach.
Hadfield played 13 seasons for the Rangers, putting up 262 goals and 310 assists for a total of 572 points in 841 games. Hadfield finished his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins for his final three seasons in the NHL.
In the 1971-72 season, Hadfield became the Rangers first 50 goal scorer in a single season, earning himself a spot as an NHL All-Star that year. The Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup Final that year where they fell to the Boston Bruins in six games. Hadfield was awarded the Players’ Player Award by his teammates and went on to represent Team Canada in the Summit Series that year.