No helmets, no pads… There were only sticks and pucks.
Hockey was a much different sport in the ’60s and ’70s and while so much has changed since then, the decisions that were made continue to resonate within sports fans young and old.
Beloved by fans, goaltender Eddie Giacomin helped the Blueshirts reach the Stanley Cup Championship in 1972 where they defeated in a six-game series by the Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Gerry Cheevers and the rest of the Boston Bruins.
Like countless other trade decisions—for instance when legendary baseball player Babe Ruth was traded from Boston to New York or the one that sent Wilt Chamberlain from Philadelphia to Los Angeles—New York Rangers fans regret how the franchise felt they could no longer afford to keep Giacomin, who was eventually put on waivers in 1975 before being acquired by the Detroit Red Wings.
Two days later, Giacomin would return to Madison Square Garden… Only this time wearing red.
As the story goes, during his debut game on Oct. 31, 1975, fans greeted the former Rangers goaltender with a standing ovation. Throughout the game you could hear the echoes of the crowd as they cheered on their opponents chanting “Ed-die, Ed-die.”
New York Rangers goaltender John Davidson would fill in as Giacomin’s successor between the pipes shortly after in the one-sided deal with Detroit.
Giacomin would go on to play a total of 71 games over three seasons in Hockeytown before retiring in 1978.
In 1987, Giacomin was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and two years would join Rangers-legend Rod Gilbert as his No. 1 was hanged from the Madison Square Garden rafters.
Bottom-line: If you were to ask any New York Rangers hockey fan–no matter their age–was it worth it? I guarantee you will get a resounding “No!,” “hell no,” or a “what are you kidding me?”