Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning to retire Vinny Lecavalier's No. 4 in February (w/video)

When Marty St. Louis became the first Lightning player to have his jersey retired back in January, it was hard not to think that former captain Vinny Lecavalier would be the next one.

The two good friends, and former linemates were both faces of the franchise, key cogs on the 2004 Stanley Cup run.

And soon, their jerseys will be hung side-by-side in the Amalie Arena rafters.

The Lightning announced Monday that Lecavalier's No. 4 will be retired on Feb. 10, when the Los Angeles Kings are in town. Lecavalier, the No. 1 overall pick in 1998, spent 14 seasons with the Lightning, scoring 383 of his 321 career goals. The ceremony comes during the franchise's 25th anniversary season.

"It's a great honor," Lecavalier, 37, said. "To see Marty last year, see his jersey go up, it was pretty cool. Honestly, this is for my family. I'm real proud of it, but my parents will be there, my kids - now that they're a little older, I know it's probably the last moment to get something, to have my kids there and see it, to be on the ice, that's what makes it really special."

Lecavalier returned to Tampa after retiring last summer, spending a lot of time with his wife Caroline and their young children - Victoria, Gabriel and Amelia. He's coaching his son in youth hockey and is active with the Lightning alumni, playing in Sunday's exhibition against the U.S. women's team. Lecavalier made a huge impact off the ice during his time in Tampa, especially with his pediatric cancer foundation.

St. Louis was emotional during his speech at his jersey retirement, but Lecavalier isn't sure how he'll handle his moment.

"You can't really predict these things," Lecavalier said. "I keep things on the inside. Everybody's different. I definitely had the best time of my life here. For (owner Jeff) Vinik to call me and tell me, that's a great honor. To be here 14 years and the fans and how hockey grew here to what it is now, it's incredibly special for sure."

Lecavalier knows one thing, his speech could get pretty long in recognizing those who impacted him along the way.

"Everybody left a little mark," he said. "There's almost too many guys to thank."

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