One of the most clutch players in sports and one of the NHL's finest ambassadors, Chris Drury, officially retired Friday after 12 years in the league. Drury played the last four years with the Rangers, serving as the team's captain for three years, before being bought out in the offseason. You can read more about Drury's career here and here.
While Drury's tenure in New York didn't live up to expectations, he had a fantastic career that included a Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche. He scored 255 goals and 615 assists in his 12 years and seemed to come up big each time he was in the playoffs. His goal in the last game of the season this past year galvanized the Rangers to a victory that ultimately won them a spot in the playoffs.
Several former Rangers teammates had nothing but positive things to say about Drury on Friday. Here are some samplings of what those within the Rangers organization had to say:
Rangers goalie Martin Biron on what stood out about Drury: "His character. Nobody could ever take that away from the person he is and the competitor he is. The way he played on the ice and in the locker room, that's something I think in the sense of how his character was. I think he was born with it. I saw it in the Little League World Series to being a young guy with the Avalanche and stepping up big time, it was not hard to learn that it was in him."
Biron on what he learned from Drury: "A lot of general guidelines. His work ethic, his commitment to the team and the cause was always big, obviously this past season with injuries it was very hard to get a sense of where he was. The few years we played in Buffalo, the turmoil the Sabres were in then with the bankruptcy and all of that when Chris came, he was one of the key components to turning the franchise around, especially on the ice and the mentality of the organization and the locker room. That was on probably the one thing I remember the most, how he was a big part of the turn around in the community and the Sabres definitely benefited from him."
Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky on Drury's leadership: "I think it's a combination of a lot of things. First and foremost, he just always did things by example. He wasn't overbearing with his voice or anything like that but he always did the right thing, whether it was on the ice or off the ice he always carried himself in the right way and it was just one of those things that he got respect at an early age in our league and then kept building respect through the example he led by. Those types of things are contagious. You see someone that has had so much success in their career and you just want to emulate how they carry themselves and what they do and I think that's what made him a great leader.
"For me in particular, he was always encouraging and always telling me how great of a player I was, even if I was having a bad game or if I was playing great. He was always reminding me of how good of a player I was and how good of a player I could be if I kept pushing and working hard and continuing to get better. He was the always the first guy to let you know how great you were doing and gave you an encouraging word if you needed it. He never had any bad words to say about anybody, it was always a compliment or encouragement. Those are the things that stuck with a lot of guys as well."
Rangers President & GM Glen Sather on Drury: "Throughout his career, Chris Drury was always a great competitor, a tremendous leader and teammate, and the heart and soul type of player that every team would love to have. His commitment, determination and will to win were apparent each and every day. Those characteristics will have a lasting impact on all those who were fortunate enough to learn from Chris over his 12 years in the National Hockey League."