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Stamkos to have jersey retired by Sarnia Sting

After recording 197 points in 124 games with the Sting, Stamkos' number 91 will be honored

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

Steven Stamkos has certainly made his mark on the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bolts captain ranking third in franchise history for goals (327) and scoring (606 points) and rapidly climbing up the leaderboard.

But the Lightning aren't the only team Stamkos has impacted.

Before being drafted with the first overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by Tampa Bay, Stamkos suited up for the Ontario Hockey League's Sarnia Sting for two seasons and tallied 197 points (100 goals, 97 assists) in 124 games.

On January 12, 2018, the Sting will retire Stamkos' No. 91 jersey during an on-ice ceremony before the Sting host the Windsor Spitfires at Progressive Auto Sales Arena.

Stamkos will be on hand for the occasion. His No. 91 will be the first number retired in Sarnia's 23-year history.

Tweet from @StingHockey: NEWS | @RealStamkos91's jersey will hang from the rafters of the Hive after on ice ceremony January 12th. READ: https://t.co/LKgBczSoaz pic.twitter.com/RGS83N2bf7

"Yeah, that's pretty special," Stamkos said. "That's not something you think of at the time you get drafted to Sarnia but had two great years there and fortunate to have a great career so far in Tampa. For them to recognize that and be the first one in the history, they've had some pretty good players there, so it's pretty humbling and exciting. I'm looking forward to it."

The Markham, Ontario native was taken by Sarnia with the first overall pick in the 2006 OHL Priority Draft, and, as a 16-year-old rookie, scored 42 goals and added 50 assists in the regular season to lead the Sting to the playoffs after the team had missed out on the postseason the previous two seasons. Stamkos finished second in OHL Rookie of the Year voting to current Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Kane.

In his second and final season with Sarnia, Stamkos netted 58 goals, second most in the OHL, and 105 points, ranking fifth in the league. Sarnia returned to the playoffs in 2007-08, and Stamkos tallied 11 goals in nine postseason games, including a four-goal effort in a single game, to help the Sting advance to the second round.

"I haven't had a chance to speak to any (former teammates and coaches) since the announcement but definitely a couple coaches and players that I'm still in touch with over the years and I follow their careers as well since we played with each other there in Sarnia," Stamkos said. "I'm sure it'll bring back some good memories when I get there in January."

Stamkos is in his 10th season with the Lightning and currently leads the NHL for scoring (24 points), assists (18) and power-play scoring (9 points) through 13 games in 2017-18.

He is a two-time winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy (2009, 2012) and has been selected to play in four NHL All-Star Games (2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016). 

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