January 28, 2022; New York, New York, United States; Former New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist watches with his family as his banner is raised to the ceiling during a ceremony to retire his number before a game against the Minnesota Wild at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner – USA TODAY Sports
The New York Rangers honored Henrik Lundqvist by retiring his #30.
The ceremony began with top New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter preparing fans in the building for the festivities. He presented a tribute video with greats from the world of hockey, sports and celebrities congratulating him.
Sam Rosen was the emcee and introduced some of the 10 members whose numbers were retired. Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, Mike Richter and Mark Messier all received a standing ovation.
Next come Henrik’s mother and father, followed by his sister and twin brother. Hank’s wife and kids would then come out and organize the moment.
As the chants of “HEN-RIK” rained down, Henrik Lundqvist came out tapping his heart and greeting the Garden Faithful with teary eyes. He hugged his wife and children, shook hands with the heroes of 94 and hugged his family before sitting down to a video paying tribute to his incredible career.
Sam then spent several minutes recounting his incredible accomplishments on the ice, including being the winningest European-born goaltender in history. He has also been recognized for his charity work highlighted by The Garden of Dreams and the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation.
Henrik received gifts from special guests:
- John McEnroe released an incredible guitar painted by Hank’s goalie mask artist Dave Gunnarsson
- Rangers equipment manager Acacio Marques presented Hank with framed game pucks he collected from his shutouts
- Then, the current Rangers assistant captains presented Hank with a special wine to honor his tradition of handing out bottles after wins.
- MSG and the NYR presented Lundqvist with a personalized Louis Vuitton travel trunk
Tribute to Henrik Lundqvist
Former teammate, Kevin Weekes took over from Sam Rosen to talk about Hank’s greatness. He recalls a story of friends playing in Sweden calling him and saying, “‘Weeksie, that guy is good!'” At the time, Weekes was the Rangers’ starter and was getting a warning about the team’s new perspective in the net.
“All the greats play at the Garden, but very few have played and dominated like you,” he said in closing. “Next stop, the Hockey Hall of Fame.”
Now was the time to hear from the man of the hour, Henrik Lundqvist.
“I miss you! I really do.”
Hank told fans how the Garden and its fans both scared and inspired him. He remembers coming over from Sweden and his intense preparation which made pre-game conversations with his teammates brief.
The camera then turned to Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider who smiled at each other. Henrik saw this on the Jumbotron and laughed too.
Henrik continually referred to his career as travel and expressed his gratitude for the night. “I’m so happy to have the opportunity to say thank you,” he said. “It was an incredible experience.”
Then came the moment.
Henrik, accompanied by his wife Thérèse and their two daughters walked the mat to the end of the ice rink. There was the Vezina trophy on the right, the Steven MacDonald award on the left and the Rangers logo in the middle.
With a blanket of smoke, Henrik’s number 30 appeared from behind and rose up to the garden rafters. Henrik smiled, wept and looked at his family with the gratitude he spoke of so much.
The ceremony ended with the heroes of 1994 presenting Hank with his jersey one last time.