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Lecavalier says Lightning ceremony retiring No. 4 'going to be great'

Former captain joins St. Louis as only Tampa Bay players to receive honor

by Corey Long / Correspondent

TAMPA -- Vincent Lecavalier watched teammate Martin St. Louis have his number retired by the Tampa Bay Lightning last season. Now it's his turn.

Lecavalier's No. 4 will be retired by the Lightning on Saturday in a ceremony before they play the Los Angeles Kings at Amalie Arena (7 p.m. ET; SUN, FS-W, NHL.TV).

St. Louis' No. 26 was the first number retired by Tampa Bay, last Jan. 13.

"This means a lot. I spent a lot of years here, a lot of great years," Lecavalier said. "After seeing Marty last year and his jersey going up ... I couldn't imagine how Marty was feeling. It's going to be great."

The ceremony will include statements from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Lightning chairman Jeff Vinik, and Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, along with former teammates.

Lecavalier, the No. 1 pick in the 1998 NHL Draft, scored 874 points (383 goals, 491 assists) in 1,037 games in 14 seasons with the Lightning. He was named captain March 1, 2000, when he was 19 years old, the youngest captain in NHL history at the time.

He helped Tampa Bay win the 2004 Stanley Cup when he scored 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 23 playoff games, and won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the League's top goal-scorer with 52 in 2006-07.

Video: Vincent Lecavalier hanging his Skates after 17 years

Lecavalier retired June 21 after playing the 2015-16 season with the Kings. He played with the Philadelphia Flyers for three seasons, from 2013-16. In his 17-year NHL career, Lecavalier scored 949 points (421 goals, 528 assists) in 1,212 games.

Since retirement, Lecavalier moved back to Tampa with his wife, Caroline, and their three children, Victoria, Gabriel and Amelia. The 37-year-old occasionally comes to Lightning games but said his primary focus is being a father and watching his children grow up.

"I'm really enjoying the family life," Lecavalier said. "I love coaching my son, I really enjoy going to every single practice my daughters have. I just love being around them, so I don't have any plans on the hockey side, or whichever side. I'm happy with the way things are right now."

Lecavalier continues to be involved with several charitable organizations around Tampa. He was honored by the NHL for his community service in 2008, winning the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and the NHL Foundation Player Award.

In October 2007, Lecavalier made a $3 million commitment to build The Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, which opened in December 2009.

"It's something I'm really proud of, it's something I really wanted to do in Tampa. I wanted to get involved," Lecavalier said. "But a lot of guys do it. You look at [Stamkos] and other guys around the League. I think hockey guys in general, once they make it and they play a few years, it almost feels like it's part of us as hockey players to want to give back to the community that we're in."

Stamkos said Lecavalier was a role model when he joined the Lightning in 2008 and he's tried to follow in his footsteps on the ice as captain and within the community.

"Vinny has always been a superstar in this area," Stamkos said. "But what he's done away from the rink I think is as, or even more, impressive as his career. The involvement in the community and the work he's done with the children's cancer center, it was just a pleasure to watch him do that."

Lecavalier said the idea that his number is being retired hasn't hit him yet, but it will, and he wants to take it all in.

"I'm really going to try to live the moment and enjoy every second of it," he said. "To be with my kids, my parents, my brother, my sister and my friends coming down from Montreal ... everybody together. And I don't even have to play afterward. I will get to enjoy the whole night."

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