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Mike Richter
Mike Richter.jpg
Born September 22, 1966 (1966-09-22) (age 53)
Abington, Pennsylvania
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg; 13 st 8 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
Played for New York Rangers
National team Flag of the United States.svg United States
NHL Draft 28th overall, 1985
New York Rangers
Playing career 1989–2003

Mike Richter (born September 22, 1966) is a former ice hockey goaltender.

One of the most successful American-born goaltenders in history, he is best known for having led the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup title in 1994 and for repeatedly representing the United States in international play.

Due to his success, Mike was a part of the Class of 2008 in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, alongside his former Rangers and U.S. teammate Brian Leetch.

Playing CareerEdit

Richter grew up in Flourtown, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, and idolized Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Bernie Parent. Mike attended and played for Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania and then Northwood School in Lake Placid, New York, graduating in 1985. He also played at the Wissahickon Skating Club. After playing for the United States in the World Junior Championships in 1985, he played for the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1985–1987 and the Rangers made him the 28th overall pick in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. He again represented the U.S.A. in the 1986 World Junior Championships, as well as the World Championships and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, before making his NHL debut in the 1989 playoffs. Even though he lost the one game in which he played, Mike was soon a regular member of the Rangers, posting 12 wins against 5 losses in his rookie season as the club's backup goaltender. Over the next two seasons, he split goaltending duties with the Rangers' veteran starter, John Vanbiesbrouck and was selected to play for the U.S. in the 1991 Canada Cup tournament.

Vanbiesbrouck was traded to the Vancouver Canucks prior to being selected by the Florida Panthers in the 1993-94 NHL expansion draft. Mike then had his first campaign as the team's number-one goaltender. He posted a career-best 42 wins and 2.57 goals-against average as the Rangers won the Presidents' Trophy as the league's top regular-season team for the second time in three years. He was also named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the NHL All-Star Game, which the Rangers hosted at Madison Square Garden that year. In the playoffs, Mike ramped up his play, becoming the eighth goaltender to post four shutouts in one playoff season. The Rangers reached the Stanley Cup Finals against the Canucks and he earned a career highlight in Game 4, famously stopping Vancouver sniper Pavel Bure on a penalty shot. The Rangers defeated the Canucks in seven games to win their first Stanley Cup since 1940.

Over the next few years, Mike would be consistently ranked among the world's top goaltenders. He led the United States to victory in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, with his efforts earning him tournament Most Valuable Player honors. Injuries plagued much of his career, including MCL sprains, ACL sprains and concussion.

Richter's style of play was very acrobatic and quick. For a small goalie he made himself look big by using his lightning quick reflexes to make saves. He was rarely out of position and always square to his shooters. He was known for making plenty of desperation saves using his focus, flexibility, and athleticism. Longtime teammate and Hall of Fame Ranger defenseman Brian Leetch once said about Richter: "I have never seen anyone more focused than he was. As the game got tougher, he got better. If a goal was ever scored on him I was always surprised."

Mike's last appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs would be 1997 as a series of knee injuries and a string of mediocre Ranger teams saw his personal statistics suffer. Nevertheless, he was selected as the top goalie for Team USA in the 1998 and 2002 Olympics, winning a silver medal in the 2002 Games. A year later, a skull fracture and concussion forced Mike to retire, but not until after he became the first Ranger to record 300 wins. He finished his career as the Rangers all-time leader in wins, later surpassed by Henrik Lundqvist.

Mike's jersey (#35) became the third number retired by the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on February 4, 2004. Though he played his entire career for the Rangers, he twice changed teams between seasons due to a quirk in the NHL rules of free agency, returning to the Rangers each time. Upon his retirement and having played his entire career in New York, the Rangers posted the quote of "Once a Ranger Always a Ranger" from everything to posters, websites, bill boards and arenas. The phrase is still seen all over the place in and near Madison Square Garden.

Career StatisticsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1986–87 Wisconsin WCHA 36 19 16 1 2136 126 0 3.53 .901
1987–88 Colorado Rangers IHL 22 16 5 0 1298 68 0 3.14
1988–89 Denver Rangers IHL 57 23 26 3 3031 217 1 4.30
1989–90 New York Rangers NHL 23 12 5 5 1320 66 0 3.00 .904
1989–90 Flint Spirits IHL 13 7 4 2 782 49 0 3.76
1990–91 New York Rangers NHL 45 21 13 7 2596 135 0 3.12 .903
1991–92 NHL 41 23 12 2 2298 119 3 3.11 .901
1992–93 NHL 38 13 19 3 2105 134 1 3.82 .886
1992–93 Binghamton Rangers AHL 5 4 0 1 305 6 0 1.18 .964
1993–94 New York Rangers NHL 68 42 12 6 3710 159 5 2.57 .910
1994–95 35 14 17 2 1993 97 2 2.92 .890
1995–96 41 24 13 3 2396 107 3 2.68 .912
1996–97 61 33 22 6 3598 161 4 2.68 .917
1997–98 72 21 31 15 4143 184 0 2.66 .903
1998–99 68 27 30 8 3878 170 4 2.63 .910
1999–2000 61 22 31 8 3622 173 0 2.87 .905
2000–01 45 20 21 3 2635 144 0 3.28 .893
2001–02 55 24 26 4 3195 157 2 2.95 .906
2002–03 13 5 6 1 694 34 0 2.94 .897
NHL totals 666 301 258 73 38,183 1840 24 2.89 .904

PlayoffsEdit

Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1987–88 Colorado Rangers IHL 10 5 3 536 35 0 3.92
1988–89 Denver Rangers IHL 4 0 4 210 21 0 6.00
1988–89 New York Rangers NHL 1 0 1 58 4 0 4.14 .867
1989–90 New York Rangers NHL 6 3 2 330 19 0 3.45 .896
1990–91 New York Rangers NHL 6 2 4 313 14 1 2.68 .923
1991–92 New York Rangers NHL 7 4 2 412 24 1 3.50 .894
1993–94 New York Rangers NHL 23 16 7 1417 49 4 2.07 .921
1994–95 New York Rangers NHL 7 2 5 384 23 0 3.59 .878
1995–96 New York Rangers NHL 11 5 6 662 36 0 3.26 .883
1996–97 New York Rangers NHL 15 9 6 939 33 3 2.11 .932
NHL totals 76 41 33 4,515 202 9 2.68 .909

AccoladesEdit

  • All-WCHA Second Team (1986–87)
  • Named to 1992 NHL All-Star Game
  • Named to 1994 NHL All-Star Game (awarded Most Valuable Player)
  • Won 1994 Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers
  • Won gold medal at 1996 World Cup of Hockey (Awarded Most Valuable Player)
  • Named to 2000 NHL All-Star Game Won silver medal at 2002 Winter Olympics
  • Enshrined into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Received the 2009 Lester Patrick Award alongside Mark Messier and Jim Devellano.
  • Ranked No. 3 on the all-time list of New York Rangers in the book "100 Ranger Greats" (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).
  • Inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2014

RecordsEdit

  • NYR Club Record, Games Played, Career: 666
  • NYR Club Record, Wins, Single Season: 42 (1993–94)

NY Rangers Team Awards

  • Crumb Bum Award - "For service to New York youngsters" (1997)
  • Frank Boucher Trophy - "Most popular player on and off the ice" (1991, 1999, 2000, 2002)
  • Good Guy Award - "For cooperation with the media" (1991)
  • Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award - "Best rookie of training camp" (1988)[7]
  • Player's Player Award (1991, 2000)
  • Team Rookie of the Year (1991)
  • Team MVP (2000, 2002)

Playing StyleEdit

Mike's style of play was very acrobatic and quick. For a small goalie he made himself look big by using his lightning quick reflexes to make saves. He was rarely out of position and always square to his shooters. He was known for making plenty of desperation and sometimes unbelievable saves using his focus, flexibility, and athleticism.

Longtime teammate and Hall of Fame Ranger defenseman Brian Leetch once said this about Richter:

"I have never seen anyone more focused than he was. As the game got tougher, he got better. If a goal was ever scored on him I was always surprised."

Personal LifeEdit

Mike grew up in Flourtown, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia) and idolized Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Bernie Parent. He has 3 sons, all of whom play ice hockey in their home town of Greenwich, Connecticut.

After retiring from the NHL, Mike enrolled in Yale University, entering the university through the highly competitive Eli Whitney Students Program, Yale College's admissions program for non-traditional students & received his degree in Ethics, Politics, and Economics with a concentration in Environmental Policy (EP&E).

Mike is currently a founding partner at Healthy Planet Partners, a sustainable power finance and consulting group and Environmental Capital Partners, a $100 Million Private Equity Fund focusing on resource efficiency. He serves on the Board of Directors for Riverkeeper, the Board of Trustees for the Adirondack Nature Conservancy & sits as a member of the National Advisory Council for the Sierra Club.

He recently began collaborating with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in their effort to bring the best ecological practices to the sports industry. He also launched Athletes for a Healthy Planet, an organization dedicated to fostering an understanding of the connections between environmental issues, human health, economy, social justice and well-being.

In 2007 & 2009, Mike stated that he would be interested in running for Congress as a Democrat in either Connecticut's 4th congressional district or New York's 20th congressional district special election in 2009.

During the 2013-14 hockey season, "Let’s Play Hockey" newspaper and the Herb Brooks Foundation announced the creation of the Mike Richter Award to annually honor the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA men’s hockey. The inaugural award was presented to Connor Hellebuyck of UMass Lowell at the 2014 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four in Philadelphia.

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