Lightning retire jersey of former face of the franchise, Vinny Lecavalier

By Katherine Smith, Spectrum Bay News 9
Last Updated: Saturday, February 10, 2018

This one's for Vinny.

Vinny Lecavalier. Mr. Tampa Bay hockey. No. 4 rose to the rafters, joining Marty St. Louis's No. 26. The only retired Lightning jerseys.

A ceremony fit for a Stanley Cup champion. There were former teammates, including St. Louis and Brad Richards. There were gifts, including a custom watch presented by Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman. There were speakers, including Hall of Famer Phil Esposito.

"You are the face of the Tampa Bay Lightning," Esposito said. "Congratulations my man."

And there was Vinny.

"From the first time my dad put me on skates at 2, there was no where else I wanted to be," Lecavalier said.

​He's the Lightning's Ironman. No player has hit the ice for more games for the Bolts. No player has scored more goals. Vinny and the Lightning made history together. 

As he grew, so did the franchise. Vinny was the first face of Tampa Bay hockey.

Former teammates and coaches say it was an honor to play with him. Bolts fans are honored he was one of theirs. And still is.

"We as hockey players want to give back to the community that we’re in," Lecavalier said. "The way I felt about Tampa and the way after a few years, I really love being here. It’s a great community."

Saturday was for Vinny.​ No Tampa Bay player will ever wear No. 4 again. It hangs high above the Amalie Arena ice. And with it, Vinny's legacy.

"You hope that people think that you did your best to be part of this community," he said, "and how you were with the team."