OTTAWA -- Chris Phillips will have his No. 4 retired by the Ottawa Senators later this season.
"That's not even on the radar, for that to happen," he said Saturday at Canadian Tire Centre. "Obviously, your dream growing up is to win a Stanley Cup. And that's really all that really matters. You never thought of retiring your jersey or anything like that. But as you get older, as you see that happen with [Daniel Alfredsson], guys you played with, that becomes a 'maybe' or a 'what if' or a 'wouldn't that be cool.' And to be there among the best that ever played for this team and be in the same sentence feels very special."
The defenseman played a Senators-record 1,179 NHL games, finishing with 288 points (71 goals, 217 assists) in 17 seasons. He was the No. 1 pick in the 1996 NHL Draft and played his final NHL game on Feb. 5, 2015.
The ceremony will take place before the game against the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 18, 2020. It will be the third number retired by Ottawa, joining the No. 8 of Frank Finnigan (1923-34) and the No. 11 of Alfredsson (1995-2013).
"Honestly, I looked at my calendar, and none of the kids had any minor hockey going on," Phillips said. "Lucky. I was like, 'That's a free night.' So it's perfect."
The Senators made the announcement before their home opener against the New York Rangers, when Phillips walked to center ice for the ceremonial puck drop. The 41-year-old said he found out about 3-4 weeks ago but kept it under wraps.
"Somehow, given today's social media and the lack of secrets that went around, even today, my mom actually happened to be in the stands and she did not know until she saw the video when I walked out on the ice," Phillips said. "So to be able to keep that a surprise, I went up there after and there were a few tears. That was pretty special that she could be here for that announcement and have no idea about it."
Phillips played all but 16 games in nine seasons from 2003-13. He had NHL career highs with eight goals, 18 assists, 26 points and a plus-36 rating in 2006-07, when the Senators lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Anaheim Ducks.
"I look at that whole run right from my very first year, I think for 12 or 13 years making the playoffs every single year," Phillips said. "I guess that speaks to how I felt as a player, that it was a team first."
Video: NYR@OTT: Phillips honored, drops ceremonial puck