March 10 (UPI) -- Former New York Rangers defenseman and Hockey Hall of Fame player Harry Howell died Saturday night. He was 86.
The Rangers confirmed the news Sunday on social media.
Howell served as one of the Rangers' most iconic players in franchise history. He joined the club in 1952-53 after two seasons playing junior hockey with Guelph and quickly became one of the league's best defensive defensemen.
Howell played 17 seasons in New York and established a franchise record with 1,160 regular-season games played.
"Today, the New York Rangers and the hockey world are saddened to hear of the passing of Legendary Blueshirt, Harry Howell," Rangers president Glen Sather said in a statement. "One of the most iconic players in franchise history, Harry's Hall of Fame accomplishments on the ice were exceeded only by the tremendous gentleman he was off the ice. I was privileged to have worked with Harry for over a decade in both Edmonton and New York and treasure our memories together."
Howell, who earned the nickname "Harry the Horse," also won the Norris Trophy in 1966-67 as the NHL's top defenseman. He missed only 17 total games in his first 16 seasons in the league.
Howell had 94 goals and 418 points in 1,411 NHL games between the Los Angeles Kings, Seals and Rangers.
"The National Hockey League mourns the passing of legendary defenseman, consummate professional, and Hockey Hall of Famer Harry Howell," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "He will be remembered not only for his consistency and leadership on the ice but the ultimate class with which he carried himself."
The Rangers hung Howell's No. 3 jersey in the Madison Square Garden rafters in 2009. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979.