Last January, the Tampa Bay Lightning retired a number for the first time in team history: the #26 of former Hart Trophy and Stanley Cup winner Martin St. Louis. Next February, Vincent Lecavalier’s number will join St. Louis in the Amalie Arena rafters.
On Monday afternoon, the Lightning announced they will retire Lecavalier’s #4 this season. The ceremony takes place on Saturday, February 10, 2018 before a game against the Los Angeles Kings at Amalie Arena.
Selected #1 overall by the Lightning in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Lecavalier sits at or near the top of almost every significant team record. He’s the Lightning’s all-time leader in games played (1,037), goals (383), even strength goals (258), power play goals (112), and shots (3,166). He sits second in team history in assists (491), points (874), and game-winning goals (60). In addition, he ranks third in Bolts history with 13 shorthanded goals.
During the playoffs, Lecavalier ranks second to St. Louis in team history in goals (24) and points (52). His 28 playoff assists rank third in Tampa Bay history behind St. Louis and Brad Richards.
While his impact on the ice loomed large, his impact away from Amalie Arena on the Tampa Bay community was even more impressive.
In 2008, he was honored by the NHL for his community service with the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and the NHL Foundation Player Award. Over the years, he demonstrated a commitment to various charities throughout the Tampa Bay area. In October 2007, he donated $3 million to build The Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. Following its opening in 2009, it is one of the largest pediatric cancer centers in the state of Florida. His name is equally synonymous with charity work as it is with hockey.
Although his off-ice legacy is spectacular, fans remember him in other ways.
Reminiscing on the Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup title? One of the first memories is probably his between-the-legs deflection goal in Game 3 of the second round against Montreal. Followed closely by his fight with Jarome Iginla in the Stanley Cup Final. You could even throw in the moment when he took a big hit to deliver the primary assist on Ruslan Fedotenko’s first goal in Game 7 of that same series.
And how can we forget about his spectacular 2006-07 season? He finished with a league-high 52 goals and a Lightning record 108 points, winning the first Rocket Richard Trophy in Bolts history. That season marked the first time a Lighting player hit the 50-goal barrier. Those 52 goals stood as a team record until Steven Stamkos hit 60 in 2011-12.
While his career included stops in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, his 17-season NHL tenure (not including the lockout year in Russia) will be remembered for what he did on and off the ice in Tampa Bay. On February 10, 2018, we’ll finally get to see the culmination of a stellar career.