Brian Leetch was a 10-time all-star. ((Rick Stewart/Getty Images))

The New York Rangers confirmed Thursday that they will retire Brian Leetch's sweater numbernext Jan. 24.

Leetch, 39, will have his No. 2 raised to the rafters of Madison Square Garden — the fifth member of the Rangers so honoured.

The others were Rod Gilbert (7), Eddie Giacomin (1), Mike Richter (35), and Mark Messier (11).

"This night will be a very special one for me and my family," Leetch said in a statement.

"I look forward to returning to Madison Square Garden and being able to call it home."

"He is simply the greatest defenceman in the history of the franchise, and gave the same effort when it came to helping the community off the ice," Rangers president and general manager Glen Sather stated. "There is no higher honour to grant Brian."

Leetch played the first 17 of his 19 NHL seasons in New York, setting franchise records for defencemen in goals (240), points (981) and games played (1,129).

The native of Corpus Christi, Texas, was drafted ninth overall by the Rangers in 1986, and was named the Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year in 1989.

He twice won the Norris Trophy (1992, 1997) as top defenceman — the first American-born player to do so — and the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable playoff performer when New York captured the 1994 Stanley Cup.

Leetch amassed 247 goals and 1,028 points in 1,205 NHL games for the Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins before he retired May 24.

With files from the Associated Press