Tim Horton is measured up for a Rangers uniform by coach Emile...

Tim Horton is measured up for a Rangers uniform by coach Emile Francis on March 4, 1970. Credit: AP/Marty Lederhandler

The tributes continued to pour in on Sunday for Emile "The Cat" Francis, the former Rangers player, coach and general manager who died on Saturday at the age of 95.

Former Ranger Adam Graves, as part of a trio of statements released by the team, said: "I am saddened to hear of the passing of Emile Francis, who was one of the finest gentlemen I’ve had the opportunity to meet. Emile’s love for hockey and the Rangers were apparent from the moment you met him. ‘The Cat’ was one of the greatest ambassadors the Rangers have had throughout their history, and his impact on growing the game of hockey in New York will continue to live on for generations to come."

Brian Mullen, the New Yorker who played for the Rangers in four of his 11 NHL seasons, said: "Emile Francis had the biggest influence on my hockey career, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity he gave me, my brother [Joe], and countless kids in the New York metropolitan area. Emile had the foresight and realization that kids he saw playing hockey on roller skates in the streets of Manhattan could play at higher levels if given the opportunity to do so on ice. Emile’s impact in growing the game of hockey in New York and the United States cannot be overstated."

And former Rangers center Pete Stemkowski said: "Emile Francis was a bundle of energy, both on and off the ice. I’ve been in the hockey business for over 50 years, and if I was putting together a list of the top five people I’ve had the opportunity to come across, he would be there. Emile always cared for his players and their lives away from the rink, and he wanted to know how he could help them. He was really the one responsible for starting amateur hockey in New York and growing the game for kids throughout the city. Emile will be sorely missed."

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