Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Brian Leetch Inductees to Hall of Fame

The Hockey Hall of Fame today announced that Brian Leetch has been selected as one of its four player inductees for 2009. Leetch will be officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 9 in Toronto.

Leetch, who retired from professional hockey after a memorable 18-year career, established himself as the most prolific defenseman to don the Rangers sweater and one of the most successful American born players in NHL history. Originally selected ninth overall by the Rangers in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, he holds the franchise record with 741 career assists and ranks second in career points (981) and games played (1,129). Leetch also holds the Rangers record for goals by a defenseman with 240. On January 24, 2008, the Corpus Christi, Texas native became the fifth player and first defenseman in Rangers history to have his number retired.

Leetch appeared in 1,205 career games with the Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Boston Bruins, registering 247 goals and 781 assists for 1,028 points, along with 571 penalty minutes. He was selected to participate in eleven NHL All-Star games (1990-1998 and 2001-2002) and was honored with the Norris Trophy twice (1992 and 1997), the Conn Smythe Trophy (1994) and the Calder Trophy (1989).

In 1991-92, Leetch became the fifth defenseman in NHL history to break the 100-point mark in a season, registering 22 goals and 80 assists for 102 points. He also holds the NHL record for most goals by a rookie defenseman with 23 in 1989.

He was a catalyst during the Rangers’ run to the 1994 Stanley Cup Championship, in which he led the NHL with 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points (second highest total by a defenseman in playoff history) in 23 matches and became the first American born player to capture the Conn Smythe Trophy.

The three-time Olympian helped lead Team USA to a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics while being named to the All-Tournament Team. Leetch became the 11th Ranger inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008.

Leetch’s selection marks the third consecutive year that a member of the Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup Championship winning team will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, joining Mark Messier (2007) and Glenn Anderson (2008).

Joining Leetch as the Hockey Hall of Fame’s player inductees for 2009 are former Rangers teammate, Luc Robitaille, Steve Yzerman and Brett Hull. Robitaille was a member of the Rangers for two seasons, registering 47 goals and 70 assists for 117 points in 146 games from 1995-96 to 1996-97. He also recorded five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 26 postseason contests as a Blueshirt.

In addition, former Rangers goaltender and broadcaster, John Davidson, has been selected as the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award recipient for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster. Davidson served as the team’s color analyst for more than 20 years following his playing career. Davidson and New Jersey Devils President and General Manager, Lou Lamoriello, who has been selected as a builder, will be officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on November 9 in Toronto.

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