He’s the franchise leader in assists (588), points (953), shorthanded goals (28), and hat tricks (8), along with a few other categories. He helped lead them to their first ever Stanley Cup in 2004. Now, Martin St. Louis is the first player to have his number retired by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In a pre-game ceremony Friday night before their game against former head coach John Tortorella and the Columbus Blue Jackets , St. Louis’ No. 26 was raised to the AMALIE Arena rafters.
St. Louis earned the honor after 972 games with the Lightning where he not only achieved the milestones listed above, but also won the Hart and Pearson Trophies, the Art Ross twice and three Lady Byngs. Not bad for a guy who went undrafted out of the University Vermont and kept getting overlooked because of his size.
There were speeches from Tortorella, Steven Stamkos, GM Steve Yzerman, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. But it was St. Louis’ night, and when it was his time to speak, he delivered.
One of the emotional moments of St. Louis’ speech came as he finished up, when he talked about his late mother, France, who passed away in 2014.
“She was my biggest fan and cheerleader. She believed in me even when I didn’t. I know she’s with us tonight and would clearly be proud and smiling down. As a kid she would always tell me, ‘Show them, Marty, show them.’ Well, mom, I think I did.”
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