On the same day when Dan Boyle became the last player from the 2004 Stanley Cup title team to retire from professional hockey, the Tampa Bay Lightning announced that Martin St. Louis will become the first player to have his number retired.
Lightning Chairman and Governor Jeff Vinik made the announcement Thursday. His number will be retired Friday, January 13, 2017, when the Lightning host the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus is coached by John Tortorella, who was the bench boss when Tampa Bay beat Calgary in seven games. They had to wait two years to defend their title due to the lockout cancelling the 2004-05 season.
St. Louis played 972 games over 13 seasons with the team, scoring 365 goals and 588 assists for 953 points. He was a dependable workhorse on the ice, missing only seven regular season games between 2002 and 2013.
The six-time All-Star signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent on July 31, 2000. He is currently the franchise leader in points (953), assists (588), short-handed goals (28), game winning goals (64), hat tricks (eight- currently tied with Steven Stamkos), and power play points (300). He’s second behind former teammate Vincent Lecavalier’s team records in goals (383 to 365) and games played with (1037 to 972).
“Everyone in the organization is excited to celebrate and thank Marty for his immense long-term contributions to the Lightning’s past successes and the Tampa Bay community,” Vinik said upon making the announcement. “As Marty enters his second year in retirement from the game, we believe this season is the time to hang his number from the rafters at AMALIE Arena.
“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 was a two-time Olympian (2006 and 2014) and won a gold medal in Sochi. He participated in the World Championships for Canada two times, winning silver medals in 2008 and 2009.
He won the Art Ross Trophy for leading scorer twice (2004, 2013). 2004 was also the same season that he won his only Hart Memorial Trophy.