Harry Howell waves to the crowd during a ceremony to...

Harry Howell waves to the crowd during a ceremony to retire his number before the Rangers' game at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 22, 2009. The NHL Hall of Fame defenseman, who played the most games in the team's history, died Saturday night at 86. Credit: AP / Seth Wenig

NHL Hall of Fame defenseman Harry Howell, who played the most games in Rangers history, has died. He was 86.

Howell died Saturday night. He had been living at an assisted care facility near his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.

A seven-time All-Star, Howell played 1,160 games for the Rangers from 1952-69 and had his No. 3 retired by the team. He also played in the NHL for the Oakland/California Golden Seals and Los Angeles before finishing in the World Hockey Association.

Seventeen of Howell’s 21 NHL seasons were with the Rangers, where he recorded 345 points in 1,160 games. Known for his smart, steady play, “Harry the Horse” won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman in 1966-67. He finished with 94 goals and 324 assists in the NHL and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979.

Howell also coached for the Minnesota North Stars and scouted for Edmonton.

“I was privileged to have worked with Harry for over a decade in both Edmonton and New York and treasure our memories together,” Rangers president Glen Sather said in a statement.

“The National Hockey League mourns the passing of legendary defenseman, consummate professional, and Hockey Hall of Famer Harry Howell,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

The NHL said Howell’s wife, Marilyn, died last month.

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