(Photo: YouTube Video)
Friday night was a special one for the Tampa Bay Lightning. A Bolts player will never wear the number 26 again. Martin St. Louis was honored for his 13 years of dedication to the Tampa organization by having his jersey retired. This is the first number to be retired by the Lightning.
Martin “Marty” St. Louis was 25 when he began his career with the Lightning. He came from the Calgary Flames after years of rejection and bench warming. When he signed with the Lightning in 2000, he seemed to find home. He became a leader for the Lightning and guided them to the Bolts’ 1st Stanley Cup win in 2004, despite suffering a broken leg during the 2001-2002 season.
After the win, St. Louis was named First Team All-Star, voted recipient of the Lester B. Pearson award (no the Ted Lindsay Award) as the NHL’s most outstanding player during the regular season and was the recipient of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player.
St. Louis continued to be a leading player for the Lightning until 2014 when he was traded to the New York Rangers. He played with the Rangers until his retirement in 2015. St. Louis ended his career with seven All-Star selections, 391 goals, 642 assists, 1,033 points and played 1,134 games.
The Lightning honored St. Louis by wearing throwback jerseys with the number 26 for their warm-up. They also wore patches on their game jerseys with the number 26. The legacy’s number was plastered all over the ice and boards.
St. Louis gave an emotional speech at the pre-game ceremony. He thanked his family and friends for all of their support throughout his career. He also thanked his mother, France, who unexpectedly passed away in 2014. As his number was raised into the air, the cheers of his fans rang through Amalie Arena.
Unfortunately, the Bolts could not pull out a win last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Bolts will face the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, January 16 at 4:00.