Former NHL center Vincent Lecavalier will have his No. 4 retired by the Tampa Bay Lightning before the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Amalie Arena on Feb. 10.
"I've been here a long time," Lecavalier said. "Every time I come into the building and my kids come in here. It's not just for myself looking up, it's for my kids to say wow, this is No. 4, this is my dad's number and they can be proud of that. For me that's even more important."
Lecavalier, selected by Tampa Bay with the No. 1 pick in the 1998 NHL Draft, had 949 points (421 goals, 528 assists) in 1,212 games with the Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and Kings. The four-time All-Star won the Stanley Cup in 2004 and the Maurice Richard Trophy as the League's top goal-scorer with 52 in 2006-07, when he set a Lightning record with 108 points. Lecavalier's 383 goals are also a Tampa Bay record.
Lecavalier made an impact off the ice, too. He was honored by the League for his community service in 2008 by winning the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and the NHL Foundation Player Award in recognition of his commitment and service to charities in the Tampa Bay community. He announced a $3 million donation to build The Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, in October 2007. The center opened in 2009 and is one of the largest pediatric cancer centers in the state.
"Vinny was just ... his size and his ability to leverage his strength on the ice, I just remember him as a major factor," Lightning owner Jeff Vinik said. "Because when I came in, I think I equally remember Vinny as just a great force in the community. Just an all-around good guy who would do whatever it takes for this Tampa Bay community. He loved it here and that's why it's not a surprise, but it's still great to have him living here."
Lecavalier, 37, retired on June 21, 2016. He is the second player to have his jersey retired by the Lightning, joining forward Martin St. Louis (No. 26).
"It's a great honor to be here," Lecavalier said. "I mean being here for Marty's retirement last year, it brought tears to my eyes watching his jersey go up. And to get that phone call from Mr. Vinik and to have the chance to be in the same situation, right beside Marty, it's such a great honor. Thank you to the Tampa Bay Lightning and the fans that supported me.
"I got here in 1998 and hockey was ... I don't want to say it was big, it was starting and I feel like this team, this franchise has gone up every single year and now it's one of the best if not the best franchise in North America. It's such a great honor for myself and my family. I'm sure my parents will be here and to have your kids with you, it's going to be a great night and I feel very fortunate to be in this situation."