On Monday November 12th, Martin St. Louis was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. After a video highlight package of his career was shown, current members of the Tampa Bay Lightning came out on the stage to celebrate his induction. He was then presented with a plaque by former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame member, Dave Andreychuk. What follows is a transcription of his acceptance speech.
For the sake of clarity and fluency, extraneous uses of the phrases “and”, “but”, “um”, “obviously” and “you know” have been omitted.
My first word on this page is ‘Wow’. I just need to say wow. Thank you Dave for presenting me with the plaque. Lightning guys, not just the guys I played with on the Lightning, but there’s a bunch of Rangers here that I played with that are now on the Lightning. Thank you for being here.
It might sound like I’m reading, but I’m not at all. I’m totally going off track, but trying to bring it back in. I want to thank the committee for valuing the impact I had on the game to put me here today. Thank you so much.
So many great people in this room. All the Hall of Famers. I’ve been at the Westin [hotel in Toronto] and Larry Robinson comes to me as I’m having lunch with my family and shakes my hand. Unbelievable, the talent and people that are in this room. Thank you for being part of this.
I’d like to congratulate the other members going in. I got to spend some time with you guys this week a little bit and it’s been fun to get to know you and your families. Congrats on the great achievement.
Kelly Masse, thank you so much for coordinating everything and making this 3-4 days memorable, not just for me but for my friends and family that are in town.
Deciding to go to the University of Vermont was a great life decision for me. Mike Gilligan, I know some of my celebrations don’t look like that, but you taught me to be so humble and I’m thankful for that. Roger Grillo you taught me about the details of the game that were so important for me for the next level. Thank you.
But the best thing about UVM was meeting my wife Heather. [long pause] You were always there for me. Good times and bad times and you always knew what I needed. Most of the time it was just an ear to listen. Trust me, I know you knew nothing about hockey, but your selflessness and doing everything you could so I would be better prepared for competition...unbelievable. I love you so much.
My boys, Ryan, Lucas and Mason, I’m blessed. You guys are lucky to have Mom. When you guys were young she’d take you to the games. That’s where your passion started, watching me play, watching the Lightning. For me right now to be in your everyday life, practice, school, whatever, I couldn’t ask for anything to be better. It’s amazing and I’m looking forward so much for what’s ahead for you boys. The fact that I’m part of it now, it’s tremendous. Thank you so much. I love you, boys.
Dad. You and Mom gave me so much love and opportunities. You’d tell me that playing hockey was a team sport. You’ve always supported me and were never critical. I would even ask you plenty of times, ‘What do you think, Dad?’ You’d say, ‘Marty, it’s a lot easier from my seat.’ You always told me, ‘I make no mistakes from my seat.’ So thank you for always staying positive with me and being so supportive.
My mom. She was the best human I ever met. She convinced me that my heart and will was taller than everyone else. I miss you so much and I love you, Mom.
My sister, Isabelle. You spent many hours at the rinks when we were young. You always supported me and I’ll never forget that you were my first goalie. I love you, Isa.
To the rest of my extended family and friends. A lot of you are here tonight. Thank you for making the trip and supporting me one more time. I had a blast sharing the great moments of my career with you. Most of you go well [back] before this seemed possible. Thank you.
I started my career in Calgary. Nick Polano, Al Coates, Tom Watt and Brian Sutter. Thank you for giving the opportunity to reach my dream of playing in the NHL. It was a short time but I will never forget what you guys did for my career.
I want to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning, specifically Mr. Vinik. Everything he has done for me, but more importantly what he has done for the Lightning franchise and its community. Just unbelievable, Mr. Vinik. Thank you.
I was in Tampa for some 14 years, as a player, as I man, I grew up there. Thank you Rick Dudley, thank you Jay Feaster for believing in me and signing me when I thought I was likely going to Europe.
To all my coaches there, you all played a big part in why I’m here today. I’d like to acknowledge a couple of them: Craig Ramsay, Mike Sullivan, Adam Oates, Rick Tocchet, Nigel Kirwan. But there’s one coach who had a huge impact on my career and that’s John Tortorella. Torts, you gave me the platform and the confidence to become the player I knew I could be. I went much further because of how demanding you were, physically and mentally. Thank you, Torts.
Some of the Lightning players are here tonight and some of the trainers are here. Tom Mulligan, Ray Thill, your staff, thank you for dealing with me. I know I was high maintenance. Hockey is a game of inches and sometimes those inches are gained in that locker room with a great staff. Thank you.
We had some great teams in Tampa. I played with some of the greatest and made lifelong friendships along the way. Dave Andreychuk, Tim Taylor, Freddy Modin, Dan Boyle, Teddy Purcell, Ryan Malone, Victor Hedman, Mike Smith, Dominic Moore, Nate Thompson, Marc-Andre Bergeron, I could go on. I’m not sure I would have lasted as long as I did if it wasn’t for my teammates. Thank you.
As a winger, the most important guy on the ice is your centerman. I went from playing with Brad Richards to Vinny Lecavalier and to Steven Stamkos. That’s unbelievable. Brad Richards - Conn Smythe winner, who could just dissect the game and give me the puck at the right time. Vinny, Rocket Richard, MVP of the World Cup, just a give-and-go game at a really high pace, so much fun. Stammer, it’s the first time I was playing with a righty, Richey and [Vinny] were lefties, Stammer was a righty. It was such a different game, such a great shot, two time Rocket Richard. I’m here because of those guys. So thank you so much, boys.
I believe it is important to surround yourself with good people. My agent Lewis Gross, my trainer Ben Prentiss. Bill Wicket who works for the Lightning, thank you for everything, thank you for everything through the years.
I would also like to thank the New York Rangers: Mr. Dolan, Glen Slather and Jeff Gorton, for bringing me to New York to finish my career. We came close in 2014, it was such a great ride. You guys treated me like I’d been there for 20 years when I was going through one of the toughest times of my life, losing my mom. Thank you.
Last but not least I want to thank all of the hockey fans out there for all of the support you’ve given me throughout the years. All the cheering, I’m telling you I felt it and sometimes it gave me that extra 10-20 percent you needed that night. Thank you so much.
Je voudrais remercier tous les fans au Québec, de hockey laval et leur support, mes entraîneurs du hockey mineur et mes coéquipiers du hockey mineurs et toute la province qui était en arrière de moi.
[Raw Charge reached out to our sister sites for a translation and Marc-Antoine Lévis from Habs Eyes on the Prize was kind of enough to assist.]
I would like to thank all the fans in Quebec, Laval hockey and their support, my minor hockey coaches and my minor hockey teammates and the entire province that was behind me. Thank you very much.
For all the kids out there listening, follow your dream, believe in yourself. When it seems like all the doors are closing, look for a window and find a way in. The reason that some people don’t reach their full potential is because they quit too soon. Maybe most importantly be a good teammate both on the ice and in life.
Mom, this one’s for you. Love you.