Ken Gernander, the only captain in the eight-year history of the Hartford Wolf Pack, has retired after an illustrious 14-year playing career. Gernander will assume a new position with the Wolf Pack, to be announced later this summer.
A native of Coleraine, Minn., the 36-year-old Gernander recorded 293 goals and 331 assists for 624 points in 973 American Hockey League games from 1991 to 2005, and hangs up his skates as the league’s all-time leading scorer among U.S.-born players. He ranks eighth on the league’s games-played list, 20th in goals and tied for 30th in points.
“Ken Gernander has been the heart and soul of this hockey club from day one,” said Jim Schoenfeld, Wolf Pack general manager. “I am thrilled that Ken has agreed to stay with the team. His leadership skills, hockey sense and depth of character will continue to be an asset to this club and the New York Rangers organization.”
A product of the University of Minnesota, Gernander was originally drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in 1987 and spent his first three professional seasons with the AHL’s Moncton Hawks (1991-94), helping the club to the Calder Cup Finals in 1994. He joined the New York Rangers as a free agent that summer, and spent the next 11 years in the Blueshirts’ organization with the Binghamton Rangers (1994-97) and Hartford Wolf Pack (1997-2005). He wore the captain’s “C” for a full decade, beginning in 1995.
In 2005, Gernander became the AHL’s all-time leader in Calder Cup Playoff games played when he surpassed the great Fred Glover’s total of 120. Gernander finishes with 26 goals and 29 assists for 55 points in 123 career postseason contests in the AHL, winning a Calder Cup championship with Hartford in 2000.
Gernander appeared in three AHL All-Star Games (1996, 1999, 2000), serving as captain of the PlanetUSA squad in Philadelphia in 1999. In 1996 and again in 2004, he was voted the winner of the AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Award for sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.
Gernander suited up for 27 career National Hockey League games as well, all with the Rangers, including 15 over the 1996 and 1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs.