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Rangers Sign Berard for Four Years

October 4, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) _ Bryan Berard, the NHL player who nearly lost his right eye in a game 1 1/2 years ago, signed an $11.75 million contract with the New York Rangers on Thursday.

Berard, a 24-year-old defenseman who played two preseason games with the Rangers last week, agreed to a one-year deal with three consecutive club option years, starting at $2 million this season.

Berard was accidentally struck in his right eye by Marian Hossa’s stick on March 11, 2000, while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The NHL mandates that a player’s vision must be at least 20/400. After he was injured, Berard’s vision was no better than 20/600, but he was given a special contact lens that has improved his eyesight enough to receive league approval.

Berard passed a physical and eye exam last week.

Berard had 30 points in 64 games during his last season. He became an unrestricted free agent after the Leafs failed to give him a qualifying offer this summer, thinking he had retired.

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