How do you define someone as a hero in sports? Is it based on statistics? Is it their personality and who they are as a person? Could it be a combination of both?
If I were to start an NHL franchise, it would be the man named Martin St. Louis or the “Little Big Man,” that I would choose to be the face of it.
St. Louis is retired and has been since 2015. You may ask, why would I want to start an NHL franchise with a player that has been retired for years? I would want a player that has wisdom and leadership throughout their career, and that’s exactly what St. Louis had to offer.
St. Louis started his career with the Calgary Flames back in 1998 and then played the majority of his career with the Tampa Bay Lighting. That was a total of 14 seasons with Tampa.
St. Louis hung his skates up after playing with the New York Rangers for a year and helping them get to the cup final in 2013-14. He officially retired in 2015, and of course, his number 26 was hung up in the rafters at Amalie Arena, the home of the Lighting.
“Former captain, forever will be the heart, soul of this organization,” Steven Stamkos, captain of the Lightning, said.
St. Louis was a guy full of wisdom and knowledge, like I mentioned earlier.
“Every day wanting to be better and making his teammates better, it's such an inspiration to me to have been part of his journey," former coach John Tortorella said. "I just have so much respect for how he did it. It's just unbelievable."
These are a few huge quotes coming from some big people in the hockey world.
So, what kind of stats did St. Louis bring to the game? He posted 391 goals and 642 assists, giving him a total of 1033 points. In today’s game, those numbers are getting higher and higher overall, but goals have been harder to come by.
If you ask me, those are some stellar numbers to put up as a right wing who wasn’t the biggest guy. That was one thing that stood out the most to people who had played with him, and of course, the fans watching.
This shows how much determination and passion St. Louis had as a player, which adds more why I would want to have him in the front of my franchise.
Hockey is a tough sport on skates and being able to fly around and control a puck that could go over 100 miles-per-hour is not a task everybody can do. St. Louis made it look easy at the height at 5 feet 8 inches.
He had to play against players like Zdeno Chara, who is the current tallest player in the NHL right now and plays for the Boston Bruins. He stands at 7 feet tall on skates.
You also had big trains as defensive like Dustin Byfuglien to get through who weighed in at 265 pounds. The point I am trying to make is size doesn’t matter as much in the NHL if you had the determination and mindset like St. Louis.
The charisma and ability of his speed is what would scare me if I was playing against him. Some of those 391 goals he had were highlight reels that boosted his teams to success, especially on one of his best career moments where he was with his Lighting family.
He helped Tampa hoist Lord Stanley during 2003-04 season and put up some crazy points. He put up 94 points and led the league in scoring. St. Louis was the first player since Wayne Gretzky to win the Art Ross Trophy as highest scorer, the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP and the granddaddy of them all, the Stanley Cup, all in the same year. It showed right here that the size of the bear doesn’t matter.
Being able to put up numbers, bring motivation, help a team make sure they are OK and deal with the hectic schedule of the NHL sounds pretty convincing to me.
In today’s NHL, new players are coming in like crazy, and those being players like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and so may make you forget players like St. Louis or at least put him in the back of your mind.
There is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t pick any other player right now than St. Louis. Passion and wisdom will forever be on the top of the list rather than worrying about how big you are as a player for me. I wish he was still playing right now, but eventually, age and your body catches up with you.
The “Little Big Man” will never be forgotten about in my mind.