For those who have the fortune of making it to the National Hockey League (NHL), there are a number of honours that only the most successful players receive. One such honour is having your jersey retired by a team.
On Sunday, February 25, the New York Rangers retired the jersey of Team Canada ’72 member and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, Jean Ratelle. Over the course of his illustrious career, Ratelle spent parts of 16 seasons with the Rangers.
During his time with the Rangers, Ratelle played in 862 games, scoring 336 goals and tallying 817 assists. He is the ninth Rangers player to have his number retired by the club.
One person who really thought this honour would happen was Ratelle’s wife, Nancy.
(Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac)
“My wife and I were watching a Rangers game last winter, and they were talking about the players with their sweaters retired,” said Ratelle in an interview with the New York Times. “She said, ‘The Rangers should really retire your sweater because you had a great career in New York.’ ‘O.K.,’ I said. ‘If [Rangers President] Glen [Sather] calls me, I will say yes.’ A month later, he called.”
In all, Ratelle accumulated 1,267 points throughout his career. In 2017, he was named one of the National Hockey League’s 100 greatest players.
Recently on “theZoomer,” Ratelle and a number of his Team Canada ’72 teammates – including Phil Esposito, Frank Mahovlich and Yvan Cournoyer – joined host Marissa Semkiw to reflect on the legendary Summit Series tournament. You can watch that episode below!