One of the most formidable lines in Rangers history was reunited Sunday, and next season, they’ll be together for good.
On the night in which the Rangers retired Jean Ratelle’s No. 19, his old linemate, Rod Gilbert, made an emotional announcement: The GAG line of old will meet again in the Madison Square Garden rafters, as the team will retire Vic Hadfield’s sweater next season. (Hadfield’s No. 11 technically already is retired, as it belonged to Mark Messier). Gilbert’s No. 7 was retired in 1979.
Hadfield, 77 — who along with Gilbert, 76, flanked Ratelle, 77, during his pregame media availability — was visibly shaken during the announcement and began to cry from his seat at center ice.
The GAG line — named because they scored about a goal a game when they skated together — never played for a Stanley Cup winner but would have, Hadfield said, if Ratelle hadn’t broken his ankle in the 1971-72 season.
“We were able to click,” Ratelle said. “We knew what we wanted and where we wanted it . . . [Having my number retired] is a lot of fun. It’s going to be great to have these guys around as it raises up to the rafters.”
And next year the true reunion will be complete — when Hadfield’s sweater goes up alongside Gilbert and Ratelle, where it belongs.