Emotions were running high for Patrik Elias on Saturday.
The New Jersey Devils honored their franchise leader in goals and points with a stirring ceremony before raising his No. 26 to the rafters ahead of their game against the New York Islanders.
Elias appeared to get emotional more than once during the lengthy celebration. First, he was caught wiping away tears during a pre-recorded statement from Lou Lamoriello, the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager who as Devils president and general manager selected Elias in the second round (No. 51) of the 1994 NHL Draft, then he teared up while addressing his parents Zdenek and Zdenka in Czech.
He also was emotional after he and his wife Petra and daughters Sophia and Kaila as the banner with his number reached the rafters.
After he was introduced, Elias walked through the stands at Prudential Center, high-fiving fans and even briefly donning a St. Patrick's Day hat -- which he sported after setting the franchise record for points March 17, 2009. The stage where the participants stood was built with 1,240 pucks to honor Elias' number of games played with the Devils.
Elias was greeted by the sold-out crowd, but also many of his former Devils teammates, including each of the franchise's four players who previously had their numbers retired, Scott Niedermayer, Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko and Martin Brodeur.
The present-day Devils came out to the bench to watch the ceremony with white jerseys with Elias' name and number on the back, and donned the same jerseys during warmups. After a lengthy speech, Elias snapped a selfie with the Devils in the background.