The New York Rangers weren’t always as hot as they are today. In fact, they were an expansion team when they were first introduced. In 1926, the New York team was the New York Americans, patterned in an American flag. Madison Square Gardens was massive crowds showing up for their hockey games. So massive, in fact, that the owners decided that there needed to be a second New York team, this time tied squarely to the Garden through ownership.
Being an expansion team, first impressions mattered. So Madison Square Gardens hired the best coach they could find: Conn Smythe. Smythe took a cross-country road trip to look for the best undiscovered players in the country. Back in the 1920′s, there were still quite a few of those. many of his choices ended up in the Hall of Fame, including Frank Boucher, Bill Cook and Ivan Johnson.
Unfortunately, due to a disagreement with management, Smythe left the team he crafted. To take his place, Garden President G.I. â€œTexâ€ Rickard hired Lester Patrick. Patrick later became one of hockey’s greats. While Smythe was still seeking out fresh players, the media began referring to the as-yet unnamed team as ‘Tex’s Rangers,’ a play on the Texas Ranger. The name stuck, and eventually Tex chose it as the team’s name.
The team was hot right out of the gate. during their first year, they had the League’s top scorer–Bill Cook–and had the best record in the NHL. The next year was even better for them, when they won the Stanley Cup. Their success rocked the Americans to their core, and the club finally shut down in 1941. Meanwhile, the Rangers continued their remarkable stretch of wins. In their first 16 seasons, the team failed to reach the playoffs only once, And only twice in that time did they sink below third. Not bad for a team that started out as an expansion.
To this day Madison Square Gardens remains the home stadium of the New York Rangers. The Rangers have been good to the Garden, bringing in record crowds and plenty of fame. Now Madison Square Garden is as recognizable as any of New York’s famous landmarks, and it is largely thanks to the Rangers. The Rangers have a number of traditions, but chief among them was the Chief. The Chief was a man who ran around the stadium dressed with an Indian feather headdress with his face painted in Rangers colors. The Chief, otherwise known as Robert Comas, did this from 1971 to 1995, when the Rangers again won the Stanley Cup.
Each time a gold is scored on their home field, a fire engine’s horn blares three times, then the goal song titled ‘Slapshot’ is played. The Rangers also do something that is fairly uncommon among the NHL: they salute the crowd. After the team wins in their home stadium, they come together at the center of the ice and raise their sticks high in the air. This is still a fairly new tradition, getting started in the 2005-2006 season. The New York Rangers are one of the great teams of hockey. Few other teams have the pedigree of the boys in red and blue.