First hockey game in New York
What Happened on December 15 in New York Rangers History
On this date in 1925, the first NHL hockey game was played in New York. While it was between the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Americans, it was the first step towards the creation of the New York Rangers. The Canadians won by beating the Americans 3-1.
Only ten players have played for Montreal and 12 for the Amerks. New York’s Shorty Green scored the first goal in MSG history, 11:50 into the first period. Although the season started Nov. 26, the Americans played their first four road games, going 2-2.
This made it the first professional hockey game played at Madison Square Garden III, known at the time as Madison Square Gardens.
The significance for Rangers is that Garden owner Tex Rickard was so impressed with the Americans’ success that he decided to apply and was awarded a franchise. The Tex Rangers began play the following season, breaking Rickard’s promise to American owners that they would be the only team to play at the Garden.
A first in the Windy City
In 1926 on this date, the Rangers played their first game in Chicago, losing to the Black Hawks 6-2. Bill Cook scored twice for the Blueshirts. Mickey MacKay paved the way for the Hawks in their inaugural NHL season, as did the Rangers.
The Rangers would finish first in the newly created American Division, with Chicago finishing third in a 44-game season.
The game was played at the 6,000-fan capacity Chicago Coliseum, home of the Black Hawks until Chicago Stadium was built. Rangers have played there eight times with a 5-3 record.
Another major milestone from Messier
On December 15, 2001, Mark Messier became the third player in NHL history to total 1,800 points. He scored a goal late in the second in a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabers at Madison Square Garden to reach the mark previously reached by Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe.
Messier, 40, almost didn’t play due to back spasms but insisted on playing after Eric Lindros was out with a sprained knee. He got an assist in the second period to set the record goal.
Messier retired with a total of 1,887 points, passing Gordie Howe (1,850) for second place. In 2017, Jaromir Jagr passed Messier to finish with 1,921. Gretzky leads the overall standings with 2,857 points. This quartet remains the only player in the NHL to reach the 1,800 point mark.
Today’s birthdaysOnly 10 NHL players were born on December 15, including a former Ranger. Mario Marois was born on this date in 1957 in Quebec, Quebec. A defenseman, he was chosen by the Rangers in the fourth round of the 1977 entry draft. He played 14 years in the NHL for five different teams, the first two in New York. He was a feisty defenseman who had 356 penalty minutes in 166 games for the Rangers. He was a regular on the 1979 team that made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
On December 15, the Rangers are dead even with 16 wins (1 by shootout) and 16 losses along with eight draws in 40 games.
Regulation wins: 15
Regulation losses: 16
Shootout wins: 1
Point percentage: 0.500