“I always look back on my 10 years in Washington with great memories, great admiration and great thankfulness,” Gartner said. “I will always have a very special place in my heart for this area and for this franchise. I really became a hockey player here, and I also became a young man, and was shown the importance of being involved in the community.”
Gartner was honored with a tribute video (now available on WashingtonCaps.com) and was introduced by his former Capitals teammate, longtime friend and business partner, Wes Jarvis. Jarvis played with the Capitals from 1979-82.
“He put us on the edge of the seats every time he swooped down that right wing and took that big slapshot,” Jarvis told the crowd. “We saw his puck-handling and passing skills evolve to make him an All-Star. What stood out to all of us though was his passion and enthusiasm for the game of hockey. … Number 11 in my day, Number 8 with today’s team [Alex Ovechkin
] – two passionate players.”
After Gartner addressed the crowd, Capitals president Dick Patrick presented him with three special gifts from the team: an oil painting by artist Michel Lapensee, a framed vintage No. 11 jersey and an engraved silver puck. Fellow retired number honorees Labre and Langway and current Capitals captain Chris Clark assisted with the presentation.
“I am proud to know that Number 11 is going to hang in Verizon Center as symbol of our franchise,” Patrick said. “It will be a constant reminder of your speed and power on the ice as well as your graciousness and dedication to the sport.”
The ceremony highlighted a special night that also saw the Capitals wear vintage No. 11 jerseys and dress in their white jerseys for the game, as Gartner’s teams did at the Capital Centre. The warmup jerseys – autographed by the current player who wore them and Gartner – were available at a silent auction held on the concourse during the game, with a portion of the proceeds going to World Vision. World Vision, Gartner’s charity of choice, is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
In addition, every fan in attendance received a commemorative Mike Gartner jersey pin, sponsored by Comcast SportsNet, upon entrance into the game, along with a special No. 11 signs to pay tribute to Gartner.
More than a dozen former Washington Capitals were in attendance to share the event with their former teammate, including Greg Adams, Bob Carpenter, Bob Gould, Alan Hangsleben, Wes Jarvis, Labre, Langway, Craig Laughlin, Paul Mulvey, Larry Murphy, Errol Rausse, Gary Rissling and Scott Stevens as well as former broadcaster Ron Weber.
- continued -
Gartner was joined by his wife, Colleen, sons Josh and Dylan, daughter Natalie Walther and son-in-law Adam Walther for the special night.
Mike Gartner Bio
Mike Gartner, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame who ranks second in Capitals history in goals (397), assists (392) and points (789), is the fourth player in Capitals history to have his number retired. Gartner spent the first 10 seasons of his 19-year NHL career with the Capitals after Washington selected him in the first round, fourth overall, in the 1979 NHL Draft. He led the team in goals five times and in points four times, scoring at least 35 goals in each of his first nine years in Washington (he had 26 goals when he was traded 56 games into 1988-89, his 10th season). He left the team as its all-time leader in games played, goals, assists, points, power-play goals and game-winning goals.
The Ottawa native is one of only three players in Capitals history with a 100-point season (joining Dennis Maruk and Alex Ovechkin
), having recorded 102 points in 1984-85. He holds the Capitals record for most consecutive games with a point (17, twice) and consecutive games with a goal (9) and shares the club record for most shorthanded goals in a season (6). Gartner was a member of the first six Capitals playoff teams, leading four of those teams in playoff scoring. He recorded 43 points (16 goals, 27 assists) in 47 playoff games for the club and at the time of his trade was Washington’s all-time leading playoff scorer.
Gartner played 1,432 career games with five teams in his career, recording 708 goals (sixth in NHL history) and 627 assists for 1,335 points. Inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001, Gartner holds the NHL record for the most 30-goal seasons (17) and shares the record for most consecutive 30-goal seasons (15). He played in seven NHL All-Star Games and three times won the NHL’s fastest skater competition at the NHL All-Star Game.
Gartner was an active member of the community during his time in Washington, D.C., and a particularly generous contributor to the Children’s National Medical Center.