The jersey retirement ceremony taking place prior to tonight’s game between the Lightning and the Columbus Blue Jackets is actually the culmination of a two-day event celebrating Marty St. Louis and his career in Tampa Bay.
This morning, he visited Lithia Springs Elementary School in Valrico to participate in a street hockey session with students.
Yesterday, he was in town to drop the puck before the game against the Buffalo Sabres, mingle with season ticket holders and also to talk to local media. There’s one thing for sure: Marty is probably more aware than anyone else what a big deal this is. He told the press,
“Even when you're done playing and you've done some great things, I don't think that's something that you hope for or crosses your mind. This is... this is an added honor that you never expect that really feels unbelievable. You know, it's - like I said, I'm so flattered and honored to have that added onto my career. I know what I've done. I took pride in the things that I did, but the fact that there's people that want to recognize me for it is something I'll remember forever. It's flattering and it's an honor.”
He acknowledged that during his career he benefited from playing with some very good centers, singling out Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Steven Stamkos for praise.
“Those guys made me look good.”
The word “honor” came up often, especially when he addressed the fact that his will be the first jersey retired in the franchise’s history.
“It’s an honor. Obviously growing up in Montreal and seeing all the legends, even before my time, but at some point in time there was a first number that went up there. They built their own history and legacy, and I think this organization is doing that. To me, to be the first is so flattering and it’s such an honor. This organization is trying to build its own history and its done a great job so far. And I’m glad to be part of it.”
Due to the ceremony taking place, the standard pregame schedule and the game’s start time have been altered. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 6:30. Players will begin warming up at 7:30 and the puck will drop shortly after 8:00. The doors will open for entry at 5:30.