The time has finally come. As training camps across the NHL prepare to open in under a month, now is the perfect time to remind fans that there is more to the sport than just playing the game. Last season, the Rangers began the process of mending their relationship with one of the greatest players in franchise history.

Jean Ratelle, the iconic centre on the legendary GAG Line -- as in Goal-A-Game Line -- is having his number 19 sweater raised to the sacred rafters in Madison Square Garden. When reached for his thoughts by the New York Post, Ratelle stated: "To have your sweater retired is the greatest honor a player can receive.

You can't ask for more than that. I'm really looking forward to being back at The Garden. My family will be with me. I'm going to enjoy it."

Exclusive company

Only a few have ever been blessed with this summus pontifex of honors. When Ratelle's sweater reaches its resting spot it will find eight other sweaters to keep it company. The list of Rangers to have received this treatment reads as follows: Andy Bathgate, Harry Howell, Rod Gilbert, Ed Giacomin, Adam Graves, Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, Mark Messier, and now, Jean Ratelle.

These names transcend the very fabric of team fandom as they are among the most revered names in NHL history. This honor could not have come at a better time. Ratelle was named to the NHL's Greatest 100 list last season, and 32-years after being inducted into the Hall of Fame his number 19 will at last be taken out of circulation and bestowed with an honor decades in the making.

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Ratelle, a member of the fabled GAG Line, fittingly will be flanked by his old line-mates during the ceremony. Vic Hadfield (Left-Wing) and Rod Gilbert (Right-Wing), will be by their old centre's side for their first reunion since the 2000-01 season opener -- the Rangers celebrated their 75th anniversary that night.

GAG Line

The line's most celebrated season was in 1971-72 when each of the members finished in the top-5 of scoring across the NHL. Ratelle was the spark as he recorded 109 points (46 G, 63 A). Hadfield reached 50-goals -- the first Ranger to record such a season -- and Gilbert rounded out the trio with 43 goals. Ratelle would finish the season as the Lady Byng recipient as well as the Lester B. Pearson Trophy winner.

Jean is the third-leading scorer in franchise history and his totals of 1,267 points in 1,281 games -- he spent his final six seasons in Boston -- are staggering, but likely would have been higher if not for his injury issues. In all he finished his Rangers' career with 817 points (336 G, 481 A) in 862 games.

Ratelle can look back on his career knowing that -- short of a Stanley Cup championship -- he accomplished everything he set out to do. He will go down as the Greatest Player to never win a Cup.

To accentuate Jean's accomplishments, his GAG Line buddy -- and Hall of Famer -- Rod Gilbert said to legendary MSG Networks analyst Stan Fischler: "There's no doubt in my mind that Jean will go down in Rangers history as one of the greatest players ever to grace our uniform."