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Encyclopedia > Tex Rickard

George Lewis "Tex" Rickard (1870-1929 ?) was an American boxing promoter, and founder of the New York Rangers NHL franchise. During the 1920s, Tex Rickard was the leading promoter of the day, and he has been compared to P.T. Barnum and Don King.

In 1925, Tex secured the rights to promote live events from Madison Square Gardens in New York. It is interesting to note that a key business partner of Rickard's in this period was a concert and boxing promoter named Jess McMahon, who is the grandfather of current WWE promoter Vince McMahon. However, due to Rickard disliking the "sport" of professional wrestling, he did not co-promote wrestling events with McMahon, and it was not until 1935 that McMahon's son, Vincent J. McMahon, would begin promoting his Capitol Wrestling Corporation events. In spite of these objections to pro wrestling, Rickard and McMahon did promote boxing matches like the the December 11, 1925 lightheavyweight championship match between Jack Delaney and Paul Berlenbach.

In the 1920's, the best boxing promoters and managers were instrumental in bringing boxing to new audiences and provoking media and public interest. Arguably the most famous of all three-way partnership (fighter-manager-promoter) was that of Jack Dempsey (Heavyweight Champion, 1919-1926), his manager Jack Kearns, and Rickard as promoter. Together they grossed US$ 8.4 million in only five fights between 1921 and 1927 and ushered in a "golden age" of popularity for professional boxing in the 1920s. They were also responsible for the first live radio broadcast of a title-fight ( Dempsey v. Georges Carpentier, in 1921).

Tex Rickard was awarded an NHL franchise in 1926 to compete with the now-long-forgotten New York Americans. The team was immediately dubbed "Tex's Rangers", and the nickname stuck. Rickard managed to get future legendary Toronto Maple Leafs coach Conn Smythe to assemble the team (including coach Lester Patrick), and it turned out to be a winner. In their first season, the Rangers finished atop the American Division, but would lose to the Boston Bruins in the playoffs.

The Rangers won the Stanley Cup over the long-defunct Montreal Maroons in only their second year in business, but it was not without some desperation: coach Patrick had to be their goaltender for two periods of game two of the finals after regular goalie Lorne Chabot was injured.

See also: Boxing in the 1920s



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