The New York Rangers have announced plans to acknowledge Rod Gilbert — affectionately known as “Mr. Ranger” — throughout the upcoming season. The Rangers legend and Hockey Hall of Famer passed away at the age of 80 in August.
The celebration of Gilbert’s career and impact in New York will start during warmups for the Blueshirts’ home opener on Oct. 14 against the Dallas Stars at the Garden. Rangers players will wear the white warm-up jerseys traditionally worn in the 60’s and 70’s, emblazoned with “Gilbert” and No. 7 on the back. These jerseys will be signed and auctioned off to raise money for the Garden of Dreams Foundation — a cause that was close to Gilbert’s heart for decades.
The Blueshirts will wear a patch with Gilbert’s retired number seven all season. On Oct. 14, 1979, Gilbert became the first Ranger to see his number raised to the rafters of the immortal Madison Square Garden. Over 40 years later, his life and hockey career will be celebrated by the organization he served so long and so well.
The team also announced the creation of a new team award to honor Gilbert’s legacy on and off the ice for years to come.
The Rangers have created the Rod Gilbert “Mr. Ranger” Award, which will be presented annually, beginning with the 2021-22 season. The award will recognize the Rangers player “who best honors Rod’s legacy by exemplifying leadership qualities both on and off the ice, and making a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.” This is the first time the Rangers have created an award since 1988, when the organization introduced the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award and the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award.