Have you ever wondered as a hockey fan just how did your favorite team get its beginning? What exactly was the history behind our favorite teams? Lets take the New York Rangers for example.The New York Rangers have had quite an exciting and memorable journey in the annals of hockey’s history. Let us now take a skate down hockey’s memory lane to discover how our beloved boys in blue began and how they became known as — The New York Rangers.
Our story begins in 1926, in New York City. The game of hockey was gaining popularity by leaps and bounds, and with it quite a fan following. The NHL was already in existence and operating since 1917. Everyone was eager to make that jump on the hockey bandwagon. Madison Square Garden was no exception and was New York’s hockey hot spot. Love for the game of hockey was spreading like wildfire. At that time, there was a team that was literally taking New York by storm. The team was called The New York Americans.
There was a gentleman by the name of George Lewis “Tex” Rickard who was the president of Madison Square Garden and it is Mr. Rickard we have to thank, for it was he who founded The New York Rangers in 1926. Mr.Rickard was interested in obtaining a second hockey team. His first hockey team, The New York Americans were currently playing at The Garden. Mr. Rickard enlisted the assistance of Mr. Conn Smythe who was the owner of The Toronto Maple Leafs at that time. Mr. Smythe was in charge of assembling a team of talented players for this new team, a team that would be a sure fire winner.
The deadline for securing together this new team was the 1926/27 season. Mr. Rickard also made it known that this new team would be solely operated and owned by Madison Square Garden. Well Mr. Smythe returned from his travels and scouting and brought together the necessary talents which were transformed into an overnight success. Players such as Bill Cook, Frank Boucher, and Murray Murdoch, to name a few, graced the ice at Madison Square Garden, thus paving the way for a Stanley Cup Champion team. Newspapers and New York fans affectionately called the new team “Tex’s Rangers”.
When Mr. Rickard caught wind of this he was in awe of the situation, so much so that this prompted him to have the teams jersey’s made with the name “Rangers” perfectly placed and printed diagonally across each jersey. The New York Americans jersey’s were slightly different as they had their name placed horizontally and they had stars and stripes on their jersey’s which avoided any confusion between the two teams. Just prior to the start of the 1926/27 season, Conn Smythe left the Rangers organization because of a managerial dispute. His replacement was another gentleman by the name of Lester Patrick. Mr. Patrick assumed Mr. Smythe’s duties. It was now up to Mr. Lester Patrick to pick up where Conn Smythe had left off and build a Stanley Cup Contender. In their very first season our beloved Rangers had not only the best record in the NHL, but also the NHL ‘s top scorer in Bill Cook. In 1942, The New York Americans folded as the Rangers became more popular.
The New York Rangers won The Stanley Cup in the 1927/28 season for the very first time in their short history. The New York Rangers are the only team in NHL history to win The Stanley Cup within its first two years in the league and team existence. An absolutely incredible achievement. The Rangers went on to the finals 4 times in 6 years. Unfortunately, The Rangers did not win another Stanley Cup Championship until 1933, then again in 1940 and then in 1994.
The tradition continues. To this day, The New York Rangers are built on passion and pride. Back in the day, he New York Rangers were classified as “The Classiest Team in Hockey”- and they still are! The dream lives on.