An already incredible season for New York Rangers Chris Kreider before this week started, became even more special with the announcement that he was the winner of the inaugural Rod Gilbert “Mr. Ranger” Award on Wednesday night.
What a week it has been for New York Rangers alternate captain Chris Kreider. On Monday he was nominated for the Bill Masterson Award, on Tuesday he won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, which he said was “probably the greatest honor that he had experienced as a professional hockey player and he also notched his 52nd goal of the season. To cap off the week he was named the inaugural winner of the Rod Gilbert “Mr. Ranger” award last night.
Rod Gilbert ‘Mr. Ranger’ Award
The award is named after fan-favorite Rod Gilbert who passed away earlier this season. The award is given to the Rangers player who best honors Rod’s legacy by exemplifying leadership qualities both on and off the ice and making a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.
The first annual Rod Gilbert "Mr. Ranger" Award, to the player who best honors Rod's legacy.
The first-ever winner: Chris Kreider. pic.twitter.com/8P65fHUZuh
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) April 27, 2022
“I’d like to congratulate Chris on being the inaugural winner of the Rod Gilbert “Mr. Ranger” Award,” Rangers President and General Manager Chris Drury said via a team press release. “Since he made his debut with the Rangers a decade ago, Chris has consistently and willingly devoted his time and efforts to charitable endeavors, especially through the Garden of Dreams Foundation. Chris’ contributions in the community exemplify the kindness and generosity that Rod demonstrated throughout his life. The leadership qualities Chris has shown in the community have translated into him becoming a leader for our team in the locker room through the example he sets on a daily basis. Therefore, it is only fitting that Chris is the first annual recipient of this award, which he has rightly earned.”
Kreider has served as an alternate captain for the Rangers since 2018 and has represented the Blueshirts since being drafted by the club in 2009. His hard work and dedication on as well as off the ice comes with a great impact for thousands of children, which he supports through the Garden of Dreams Foundation (GDF), Hockey Fights Cancer, Hockey is for Everyone, Season of Giving, and Essential Worker Night in the arena.
“Was lucky enough to get to know Rod my first few years here. Obviously didn’t have the privilege of seeing him and seeing him play hockey, heard terrific things but got to know him as a person and saw what he did in the community and, you know, the example that he set for the entire organization, so it’s very, very humbling to be considered for the award”, Kredier told MSG Networks Dave Maloney between periods of Wednesday nights game.
On the ice, Kreider has put together a career year in his 10th season, recording 52 goals and 25 assists for 77 points. His 52 goals are tied for the second-most in a single season in team history. Kreider has also broken franchise records for the most single-season power-play goals (26) and game-winning goals (11).
The Rangers will play their 82nd and final game of the regular season on Friday night when the Washington capitals visit Madison Square Garden. Kreider and most of the other top players are not expected to play in that game so they will be healthy when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin next Monday or Tuesday.
Follow Frank Curto on Twitter @RangerProud