Next season, Chris Pronger's No. 44 jersey will be raised to the rafters at Enterprise Center.
Former teammate Al MacInnis surprised Pronger with the news during a season ticket holder event on Saturday afternoon at Stifel Theatre, just an hour or so before the Blues' game against the Dallas Stars. The event, which featured a panel of Pronger, MacInnis and FOX Sports Midwest's John Kelly, was held exclusively for Hall of Fame season ticket holders who have had their tickets for 30 years or more.
"You look at the names that are up there, the Blues greats - from Bobby (Plager and Gassoff) to Bernie (Federko) to Brian Sutter to Hullie to Al - you look at the names up there and they are synonymous with the St. Louis Blues, and to be up there is very special," Pronger told stlouisblues.com.
The date for the jersey retirement has not yet been determined and will be announced after the release of the 2020-21 schedule.
Pronger will become the eighth player in franchise history to have his number retired by the Blues, joining MacInnis (No. 2), Bob Gassoff (No. 3), Bob Plager (No. 5), Barclay Plager (No. 8), Brian Sutter (No. 11), Brett Hull (No. 16) and Bernie Federko (No. 24).
Pronger was originally acquired by the Blues in a controversial trade that sent fan-favorite Brendan Shanahan to the Hartford Whalers on July 27, 1995. During his nine seasons with the Blues, Pronger played in 598 regular-season games and tallied 356 points (84 goals, 272 assists) and 931 penalty minutes. Pronger was a four-time All-Star as a Blue, finished in the Top 5 of the Norris Trophy voting five times and in 2017, was named one of the "100 Greatest Players" by the NHL.
In the 1999-2000 season, Pronger helped the Blues to their best regular-season record in team history (51-19-11, 114 points) en route to capturing the Presidents' Trophy. In that season, Pronger recorded 62 points (14 goals, 48 assists) and a plus-52 rating and became just the second player in NHL history (Bobby Orr) to earn the Norris Trophy (NHL's best defenseman) and the Hart Trophy (NHL's Most Valuable Player) in the same season.
Video: MacInnis tells Pronger his No. 44 will be retired
Pronger ranks among the leaders in Blues history in multiple categories: 14th in games played (598), ninth in assists (272), 13th in points (356), sixth in penalty minutes (931) and first in plus/minus (+140).
Originally drafted No. 2 overall by the Hartford Whalers in 1993, Pronger's career lasted 18 seasons, which included stints with Hartford, St. Louis, Edmonton, Anaheim and Philadelphia. He appeared in 1,167 career regular-season games, recording 698 points (157 goals, 541 assists) and 1,590 penalty minutes. He also played in 173 career postseason games and captured a Stanley Cup championship in 2007 while playing for the Ducks.
In international play, Pronger represented Team Canada on six occassions, including in four Olympic games. He captured a gold medal at the 1993 World Junior Championship, the 1997 World Championship and at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympic games.
Amongst defenseman in NHL history, Pronger ranks 26th in points (698), 36th in plus/minus (+183), and 38th in games played (1,167).
Video: Pronger talks jersey retirement with media