On Tuesday afternoon, Martin St. Louis received a very important phone call from Toronto. Honored member of the Hockey Hall of Fame Lanny McDonald and John Davidson, Chair of the Selection Committee, were on the other end of that call. They greeted him with the news that he would be joining Martin Brodeur, Willie O’Ree, Jayna Hefford, Alexander Yakushev and Gary Bettman as part of the 2018 induction class to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
For St. Louis, the call was a short time in coming as he, like Brodeur, was inducted in the first year he was eligible. The honor was the culmination of a long career that had an auspicious beginning and a somewhat turbulent ending. In between, though, was formed the legacy of the first great player of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Hall of Fame recorded the phone call and provided video.
For accessibility, here is the transcript of the call.
For the sake of clarity and fluency, extraneous uses of the phrases “and”, “but”, “um”, and “you know” have been omitted.
Martin St. Louis: “Hello.”
John Davidson: “Marty! It’s John Davidson and Lanny MacDonald calling you from the Hockey Hall of Fame from up here in Toronto. Congratulations you were nominated and you were voted in today to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Congratulations again.”
MSL: “Woah. What a phone call” [laughter]
Lanny McDonald: “Hey Marty. It’s Lanny. We are a long ways from those days back in Calgary when you weren’t playing a whole lot and we knew you were a great player [note - McDonald was on a brief break from a role with the Flames when St. Louis left the organization after the 1999-2000 season. If he was in hockey operations at that time, perhaps St. Louis would have been retained and a different career may have resulted.] We could not be happier here at the Hockey Hall of Fame that you are one of our newest members.”
MSL: “It’s obviously a great honor. I’m very flattered. You know, I think...I’ve seen Dave Andreychuk go through it. My whole thing was, you know, I’ve done everything I could and it’s not a sprint. Hopefully someday I’m there. To be there first ballot is an honor for my family like you wouldn’t believe.”
LM: “Well Marty…”
MSL: “Thank you so much.”
LM: “Your work ethic kind of set the bar for everyone else. We know how hard you worked at it, what you accomplished over your career and couldn’t be prouder of you.”
MSL: “Well thank you so much, guys.”
JD: “We were talking here Marty with some of the folks going in. What is your first phone call going to be and who to?”
MSL: “Well, luckily I’m actually with my wife and two of my three kids and my dad…”
MSL: “...have a big house in Quebec. I just got here yesterday.”
JD: “Really good.”
MSL: “So I’ll be able to share that with my dad in person.”
LM: “Well, I’m sure there’ll be a big hug and congratulations on both sides. As we know this is a family affair and you couldn’t do it without them.”
MSL: “No doubt about that. You guys know this more than anybody…”
JD: “You know you..”
MSL: “It’s a lot about the people around you. I was the guy out there, but nothing is possible..from the early age even into the adult age without having the support from everyone. So many guys, Lanny you were a big supporter of me always. John, I always liked everything you do and I was [phone rings in background] actually happy when you took the lead in Columbus and go do your things. So, I have a lot of respect for you guys and I couldn’t think of two better guys to receive this call from. So, thank you very much.”
LM: “So, what’s your best memory in the league, Marty?”
MSL: [pause and a deep sigh] “You know my best memory…[another pause]...best..obviously winning the Cup in ‘04. To me winning the Cup is probably my best memory, but I have so many great memories. It’s not like...it’s my career as a whole. The ups and downs, the fighting through whatever it was just to keep improving and keep staying the player you’re trying to stay for as long as you can because you have guys pushing you that are coming into the league, trying to take your job, trying to take you place.
So for me the whole process of being the best pro you can be is my favorite memory. It’s not just a...it’s an everyday thing...it’s not one particular game. We all have great moments as athletes. Winning is great, but I think the whole, my career as a whole, the day to day thing is something that I was proud of how I did my day to day thing. It allowed me to find some success along the way. The support, being surrounded by great athletes and good coaches, but it’s hard to pinpoint my favorite memory in the league. Being part of it was my favorite memory.”
LM: “You could not have stated it better. Congratulations. We can’t wait to host you in November. An honor that is well deserved, Marty.”
MSL: “Well, thank you so much.”
JD: “To get into the Hockey Hall of Fame you have to be a great player. Congratulations, you’re a great player. You were a great player.”
MSL: “Thanks a lot guys”