Honoring a Hockey Legend


Sun., Dec. 28, 2008

My friend Melissa has access to season tickets to the Washington Capitals, center ice — section 111, row s, seat 11. She invited me to watch the CAPS play the Maple Leafs. [Side Note: If I ever win the lottery and have years to wait for ticket availability, I would love to buy season tickets in that section!!! Dare to dream …]

Before the game there was a ceremony retiring Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Gartner’s No. 11 jersey, which means no CAPS player will ever be able to wear that number again. Gartner ranks second in CAPS history in goals (397), assists (392) and points (789). Also, he’s only the fourth player in CAPS history to have his number retired.

It was a great spectator experience. They rolled out a red carpet on the ice for Gartner. His wife, children and son-in-law were by his side. Gartner was honored with a tribute video and was introduced by his former Capitals teammate, Wes Jarvis. “What stood out to all of us though was his passion and enthusiasm for the game of hockey. … Number 11 in my day, Number 8 with today’s team (Alex Ovechkin) — two passionate players,” said Jarvis.

After Gartner addressed the crowd, Capitals president Dick Patrick presented him with three special gifts from the team — an oil painting by artist Michel Lapensee, a framed vintage No. 11 jersey and an engraved silver puck. Fellow retired number honorees Yvon Labre and Rod Langway and current Capitals captain Chris Clark assisted with the presentation. At the close of the ceremony a banner honoring Gartner and his number was raised to the Verizon Center rafters.

Ending on a high note that evening, the CAPS beat the Maple Leafs 4 to 1.

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