Adam Graves is all that was said about him on Garden ice yesterday evening, and much, much more.
I've had the priviledge of watching all four modern era Rangers retirement ceremonies from inside the arena. It's something I've perhaps taken for granted at the time, but it is a priviledge I recognize nonetheless.
The ceremony for Graves last night was perhaps the best that I have seen. I can't be certain and maybe there is no way to ever truly compare four different ceremonies done for four distinct individuals. That's very possible. But after last night, I can make an argument that I may have loved his the best.
While I didn't cry the whole time, I teared up at a few moments. Whoever thought of the gathering of all Adam's "friends" so that he could walk the fifth floor cooridors and great them as he made his way to the ice should be credited. It was a perfect way to illustrate the testament of giving this man made to others and the impact he has and continues to make on us all.
My eyes welled up when he received the inagural Garden of Dreams award. They were close to overflowing when the banner began to rise - always my favorite moment because of it's sense of permenancy in an inpermanent world - and Adam's head fell as finally broke down in tears. That picture of he, his wife, and children huddled together, will stay with me for a very long time.
While I may not be able to say with definite certainty that this ceremony was the best, Graves's speech certainly was my favorite of them all. As humble and generous as the man himself, filled with thank yous for all those fans, all those friends, that truly owe their thanks to him.
There is not much else I can say about Adam in addition to what I said yesterday. Or perhaps there is immessurably more that I, like he, simply cannot express into words.
The video tribute before the ceremony began kept asking is the measure of champion, of a man, that he won, or in how he won. There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Adam's parents did a marvelous job in raising an extraordinary man, a man that we've seen carry the most important of lessons throughout his professional and personal life. I can be seen immediately that he got it. He truly got it. And we were all the beneficiaries of that.
There may be no such thing as a perfect man. But if there is any that deserves consideration, Adam Graves is the first that comes to my mind.