Martin St. Louis will become the first player to have his jersey raised to the rafters of Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, when the Tampa Bay Lightning retire his number 26 on January 13.
In 13 seasons with the Lightning, St. Louis lit the lamp 365 times and had 588 assists in 972 games. He also played a huge part in the Lightning’s first Stanley Cup Championship in 2004.
In a conference call with the team, St. Louis said, “It is an unbelievable honor. It is humbling. I do not think you break into the league to see your number up there.”
St. Louis originally signed with the Lighting as a free agent, on July 31, 2000. He is the franchise leader in points, assists, short-handed goals (28), game winning goals (64) and power play points (300). His eight hat tricks are tied for team best with current Bolts captain, Steven Stamkos.
Only former Lightning captain Vincent Lacavalier, with 383 goals, has more goals for the Bolts than St. Louis. Following the championship season in 2003-2004, he won the Hart Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the league, the Art Ross Trophy, for leading scorer, with 94 points as well as the Lester B. Pearson Award as the National Hockey League Players’ Association’s Most Outstanding Player.
He again won the Art Ross in the 2012-2013 lockout shortened season with 60 points in 48 games. He was also a three-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy, for the player voted as the most gentlemanly and sportsmanlike player in the league (2009, 2010 & 2013).
Lightning owner, Jeff Vinik said, “It is a very proud moment for this franchise. Marty was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, for us. In our minds, there was no doubt Marty has earned the right to have his jersey retired. We think now is the right time.”
Vinik added, “Everyone in the organization is excited to celebrate and thank Marty for his for his immense to the Lightning’s past successes and the Tampa Bay community. As Marty begins his second year in retirement from the game, we believe this season is the time to hang his number from the rafters of Amalie Arena.”
He continued, “Marty had a terrific career in Tampa Bay, making six All-Star appearances while setting numerous team records, all highlighted of course by the Stanley Cup win in 2004. We look forward to a wonderful retirement ceremony, recognizing him for all that he accomplished as a member of the Lightning.”
St Louis added, “I have many great memories in Tampa Bay, including our great Stanley Cup win, and this night will be extremely special and emotional for my family and me. I am happy I will get to share the evening with all of the Lightning fans who have always supported me throughout my career. Tampa Bay will always feel like home to me. Additionally, I recognize that none of this would have been possible without the help of many great teammates, trainers and coaches and I thank them.”
The Lightning will face St. Louis’s former head coach, John Tortorella and the Columbus Blue Jackets on that special night. Tortorella coached the Lightning and during the 2004 Stanley Cup Final.