Kings to Officially Retire Luc Robitaille's Jersey No. 20 on January 20, 2007
Kings to Officially Retire Luc Robitaille's Jersey No. 20 on January 20, 2007
Monday, Aug. 21st, 2006
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings will officially retire Luc Robitaille’s jersey No. 20 in a special pre-game ceremony on January 20, 2007, when the Kings host the Phoenix Coyotes at STAPLES Center, the club announced. Robitaille will join Rogie Vachon, Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor and Wayne Gretzky as the only Kings players to have their jersey retired, and Robitaille will also be inducted into the Kings Hall of Fame as part of the evening’s festivities.
“Having your sweater retired by your team is an incredible honor,” said Robitaille. “When I first came to L.A. more than 20 years ago, I never would have imagined this happening. To have my name up on the wall at STAPLES Center alongside true greats like Marcel Dionne, Rogie Vachon, Wayne Gretzky and Dave Taylor, and to see the wonderful basketball names like Jerry West, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar up there as well, is truly overwhelming. I have always said that the Kings are my team. This honor means so much to myself and my family, and I am very honored and humbled indeed.”
“Luc’s commitment to the game of hockey and to his community here, especially the kids, is total and unique, and the relationship he has with hockey fans in L.A. is unlike any other athlete/fan relationship I have ever seen,” said Kings Governor Tim Leiweke. “On the ice, Luc honored the game every day and he honored the jersey every minute. In Los Angeles, I do not think any other athlete has made the impact Luc has. He is a class act, a true legend and with the official retirement of his jersey, he will truly be a part of the L.A. Kings family forever.”
“It is an honor and a privilege for me to help announce this special honor being extended to an elite player and consummate professional in the person of Luc Robitaille,” said Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi. “Luc was a gifted goal scorer who defied the odds to rise to the heights of his chosen profession. His example as a player transcends hockey. From a long shot, late-round draft pick, to a future member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Luc is an inspiration for anyone who chooses to follow in his path in this great game.”
“Luc’s passion for Los Angeles, the Kings and their fans was matched only by his determination to excel at our game,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “The retirement of his jersey will forever remind Kings players and fans of the lofty levels at which he conducted himself.”
Robitaille, 40, is the highest scoring left wing in NHL history, the all-time Kings leader in goals scored and a future member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. He recently completed his 19th NHL season and his 14th with the Kings, officially retiring as a player following his last contest on April 17 at San Jose.
Robitaille was originally selected by the Kings in the ninth-round (171st overall) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. In 1,431 regular season games with the Kings, Detroit Red Wings (where he won a Stanley Cup in 2002), New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins, Robitaille had 1,394 points (668-726=1,394) and 1,177 penalty minutes. In 159 playoff games, he had 127 points (58-69=127) and 174 penalty minutes.
Robitaille has been honored with several awards and he has set numerous records throughout his long and distinguished career. In addition to being the highest scoring left wing in NHL history, a mark he set in a Kings uniform with an assist on March 22, 2004, with his 1,370th point to pass Hall of Famer John Bucyk, Robitaille holds the NHL record for left wingers for goals (668). He is also 10th in overall NHL goal scoring with 668 goals, 19th overall in NHL scoring with 1,394 points and he is the only left wing in NHL history to record eight consecutive 40-goal seasons (all with the Kings).
With the Kings, Robitaille ranks second all-time in games played (1,077), second in points (1,154) and fourth in assists (597). This past season, on January 19 at STAPLES Center, he set the Kings all-time record for goals when his 551st goal as a King surpassed Dionne, a former teammate, long-time friend and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 1,077 regular season games as a King, Robitaille had 1,154 points (557-597=1,154) and 924 penalty minutes.
Robitaille, a 6-1, 215-pound native of Montreal, played his first eight NHL seasons with the Kings from 1986-94, and in that rookie 1986-87 campaign he scored his first career NHL goal on his first shot (assisted by Dionne – Dionne’s 1,600th NHL point) on October 9, 1986. He won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year (the only King to win the award in franchise history) and he was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team with Kings teammates Jimmy Carson and Steve Duchesne after leading all NHL rookies in points (84) and goals (45).
Joined by the legendary Gretzky prior to the 1988-89 season, Robitaille and Gretzky helped lead a potent Kings offense that reached its pinnacle in 1993 with the franchise’s first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. That season, Robitaille was named the team’s captain while Gretzky began the season injured, and Robitaille responded by setting NHL records for the most goals (63) and points (125) in one season by a left winger (both marks still stand). That season also saw Robitaille become the first player in NHL history to score against 22 different teams in one season.
Robitaille would go on to reach several other milestones while with the Kings. He became the 27th player in NHL history to score 500 goals (he scored his 500th goal on January 7, 1999) and he was the 12th fastest to reach that mark, accomplishing the feat in just 928 games. While in a Kings uniform he also scored his 650th career goal on March 9, 2004, and he played in his 1,000th game as a King on March 13, 2004.
During that 2003-04 season, Robitaille led the Kings in points (51), game-winning goals (four), power play goals (12) and shots (221) while scoring 22 goals. He was also the Kings nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is given annually to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
Robitaille also ranks first in the franchise for power play goals (210), power play goals in one season (26 in 1991-92), most career goals in overtime (five), and he has led the Kings in scoring six times and in goal scoring eight times. He is also the leader in numerous offensive Kings franchise playoff categories, including games played (94), goals (41), game-winning goals (nine) and power play goals (13).
This past season, Robitaille, an assistant captain, had 24 points (15-9=24) and 52 penalty minutes in 65 games. He entered the season eight goals shy of tying Dionne for most goals in Kings history and 99 games behind Taylor in games played. Of his 15 goals this season, 14 were scored at STAPLES Center. His last goal was on March 14 against the Gretzky-coached Coyotes. He recorded his 15th career hat trick on January 19 (the night he surpassed Dionne) and he led the team in January with seven goals. Robitaille was also named the Kings nominee for this year’s Masterton Trophy.
Robitaille’s NHL career also included stops with the Penguins, Rangers (where he again teamed with Gretzky) and the Red Wings. Traded by the Kings to Pittsburgh prior to the start of the 1994-95 season, Robitaille played one season with the Penguins before being dealt to the Rangers, where he played two seasons (1995-97). He returned to the Kings via trade in 1997.
Upon his return to the Kings, Robitaille helped lead the team to the post-season for the first time in five years – since Robitaille and the Kings reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993 – and he scored at least 36 goals for the Kings in three seasons from 1998-01.
After a two-year stint with Detroit from 2001-03, which was highlighted by a Stanley Cup championship with the Red Wings in 2002, Robitaille again returned to the Kings in 2003 when he was signed as an unrestricted free agent. He played with the Kings since, and during his time in the NHL he has been a teammate of six of the top seven scorers in NHL history (Gretzky, Mark Messier, Ron Francis, Dionne, Steve Yzerman and Mario Lemieux, though he did not play with Lemieux while in Pittsburgh due to health reasons).
An eight-time NHL All Star, Robitaille was named an NHL First Team All-Star five times and an NHL Second Team All-Star three times, including being named to one of those teams in each of his first seven seasons (all with the Kings). Robitaille has also garnered numerous Kings team awards, including: Most Valuable Player (four times); Most Popular Player (four times); Most Inspirational Player; Leading Scorer (six times – he has also led the Kings in goals eight times); and Community Service (three times).
Off the ice, Robitaille has immersed himself in the Southern California community. Most recently, he and his wife Stacia created Shelter for Serenity, a disaster relief project that benefits victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes (more information at www.shelterforserenity.org).
Internationally, Robitaille represented his native Canada at three international tournaments, including the 1994 World Championship in Italy where his game-winning shootout goal helped Canada capture its first World Championship gold medal in 33 years.
Member of the Kings Hall of Fame include Dionne, Gretzky, Taylor, Vachon, Butch Goring, Bob Miller and Peter Demers.
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