June 14th 1994 - The New York Rangers win the Stanley Cup
"The New York Rangers are the Stanley Cup champions. And this one will last a lifetime." - Sam Rosen, who called the game in New York.
The Rangers ended a 54 year Stanley Cup drought when they beat the Vancouver Canucks in 7 games. It was and still is longest gap between Stanley Cups for any team in the NHL. The Chicago Blackhawks broke their 49 year wait in 2010, and it took the Boston Bruins 39 when they won in 2011. Currently the Toronto Maple Leafs are going strong with 47.
The Rangers were thought to have been cursed. During the 1940 season, the mortgage on (the third) Madison Square Garden, was paid off. When they won the Stanley Cup that year, arena management symbolically burned the mortgage in the bowl of the Cup. This led fans to believe that the Stanley Cup, a sacred object, had been “desecrated”, leading the “hockey gods” to place a curse on the Rangers.
The championship was the sixth for captain Mark Messier and one that solidified his legacy in New York, in the NHL, and in sports. He is the only player in professional sports to captain two different teams to championships (the other team was the Edmonton Oilers).
Currently the Rangers have 8 retired numbers hanging from the rafters and half of them are from this Stanley Cup team: Brian Leetch - 2, Adam Graves - 9, Mark Messier - 11, and Mike Richter - 35.
I’ve been putting off writing this entry. The Rangers were in the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since they won in 1994 and, fitting or not, the series ended early in the morning today when the Los Angeles Kings scored in double overtime.
I have been a long time New York Rangers fan. And though I was just a kid in 1994, I remember how electrifying it was watching that New York team go to the finals and win. I imagine it felt the same way in Boston when they won the World Series in 2004, breaking a curse that was almost twice as long.
There is something about a sports team that can unite a city. The 1994 Rangers united New York, and unfortunately tore apart Vancouver. After the Rangers won there were riots in the streets of Vancouver. An estimated 50,000 to 70,000 individuals converged upon Downtown Vancouver and police were forced to use tier gas and rubber bullets on citizens. The total damage was 1.1 million CAD.