The Garden 366

Rangers legends Mark Messier, Rod Gilbert, Brian Leetch, and Adam Graves joined several other notable figures from the great history of Madison Square Garden yesterday morning to unveil Garden 366, great moments for each calendar day from the 130-year history of the World's Most Famous Arena.

The visual retrospective that is Garden 366 will wrap the entire circumference of The Garden's sixth floor concourse when it re-opens from Phase 2 of its renovation in early November. Featured will be great Rangers and Knicks memories, as well as moments from famous concerts, boxing and wrestling matches, political events, and more.

"It's legends, and legends to be, that make Madison Square Garden the Worlds Most Famous Arena," MSG President and CEO Hank Ratner said on Thursday. "Every night promises the opportunity for new legends and new memories. The 366 list can always change moving forward."

Of the 366 listed events, 42 are tied to the Rangers, including, of course, June 14, 1994 when the Blueshirts captured their first Stanley Cup in 54 years.

"There were fans in the stands that night who were sons and fathers and grandfathers---people who had waited such a long time for a moment like that---which made it all so special," Messier said, remembering that amazing night. "To see the sheer joy and passion the fans had that night when the buzzer went off and we had the Stanley Cup was just something I don't think any of us will ever forget."

The magical 1993-94 season provide several Rangers moments in Garden 366, but the Blueshirts memories commemorated here date all the way back to the MSG which stood at Madison Square Park off 23rd Street, as well. In fact the first-ever NHL game played by the Rangers is represented, and the most recent is Brad Richards' last-second goal in Game 5 against the Capitals in the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 7th earlier this year.

Former Rangers broadcaster Howie Rose was on hand to recall his famous "Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!" radio call from May 27, 1994; Leetch remembered his NHL debut on February 29, 1988 (Leap Year!) with The Garden Faithful chanting "USA! USA!" in honor of his play in the '88 Olympics; and Gilbert reminisced on the night his No. 7 was retired and raised to The Garden rafters.

"To be honored in this fashion did not really sink in until later, because I was the first to have this done, I didn't have any company up there," explained Gilbert. "I felt very, very special. And thank you Madison Square Garden for so many special memories."

Graves not only chose to speak about the many amazing on-ice memories he has, but he recounted several personal anecdotes, as well.

"Those memories are so vivid and so strong, and for me that is what makes The Garden so special---it creates capsules of memories you will never forget, whether you are performing or sitting in the seats," Graves said. "Going to the circus with my oldest daughter or going to my first concert with my wife and being lucky enough to win a championship with people who have grown to become like family, these are memories for me at The Garden."

Share your favorite Rangers and MSG memories below.


Jim Cerny

October 12, 2012