2005_09_smessier.jpgThere have been few athletes in the history of New York who captured the imagination and adoration of the city the way Mark Messier did. When he uttered his famous “We’ll Win Tonight” guarantee before Game Six of the Devils series and then backed it up with a hat-trick, he became one of the true legends of Gotham, up there with Namath, Reed and Jackson. Messier announced his retirement on Monday ending a twenty-five year career in professional hockey.

Like many New Yorkers, he came from somewhere else. Messier was already a superstar when the Rangers traded for him in 1991, but his legend only grew until the night of June 14, 1994, when he shook with emotion as he held the Stanley Cup aloft and ended fifty-four years of frustration for Rangers’ fans.

We will remember him for delivering the big hit, scoring the clutch goal and staring down an opponent with his infamous glare. His number eleven sweater will be elevated to the rafters of the Garden on January 12, 2006, when the Rangers play the Edmonton Oilers.

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