January 25, 2013 - 5:15 PM
Today marks the day that Scott Niedermayer's jersey, no. 28, is hung in the rafters at the Interior Savings Centre (ISC).
Niedermayer, a veteran Kamloops Blazer, is being honoured by the hockey club before their game tonight by retiring his jersey.
The Cranbrook-native defenseman played 156 games with the Blazers, scored 47 goals, made 143 assists and totalled 190 career points.
He went on to play a total of 1,263 games in the NHL, winning four Stanley Cups and totalling 784 points over his 17-year career with the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
He will be one of just six retired numbers hanging in the ISC, including Greg Hawgood's no. 4, Mark Recchi's no. 8, Dean Evanson's no. 20, Greg Evtushevski's no. 26 and Rob Brown's no. 44.
Niedermayer said it's been a few years since he's been back to Kamloops after his time as a Blazer that started when he was just 16.
"There's a lot to be learned when you move away from home at that age," Niedermayer said. "Your parents aren't home to sort of take care of things. There was a lot of growing up."
"Going from bantam hockey to the WHL is a very, very big step."
He said he learned a lot during his time as a Blazer.
"I had a lot to learn about everything, about how to play the game, how to have success, how to be a good teammate, personally how to prepare yourself to play and be ready," he said.
While visiting Kamloops, he made a special stop, visiting the billets he stayed with as a WHL player. They are expected to attend the event and cheer him on this evening.
"It's fun to be back. It brings back a lot of good memories," Niedermayer said.
Niedermayer's no. 28 jersey will hang among other retired jerseys.
Blazers co-owner, Recchi, was the last jersey to be retired by the club in 1990.
"We're happy and proud that Scott's accepted this," Recchi said.
"It's well-deserved. There's no other hockey player that's done what he's done throughout his career."
Tonight Niedermayer will be honoured, but he said said he's unsure about what happens next.
"I'm working on that," he said.
"It's been a big adjustment - retiring - when you're so committed and your time has been taken so much by one thing."
He said he plans to continue as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks as well as take time to spend with his wife and four kids.
"I've had some chances to be with my own kids, playing hockey and helping them," he said.
As for tonight, Niedermayer said the opportunity doesn't come along every day.
"That's a pretty spectacular honour," he said.
"I couldn't have picked a better place for junior hockey."
By about 3 p.m. today, there were about 400 tickets left as well as 500 standing room tickets for the event and game against the Prince Albert Raiders.
Special to the event, those in attendance will receive a commemorative poster.
As well, all 20 Kamloops Blazers players will be wearing vintage 1992 jerseys tonight during warm-up with Niedermayer’s name on their backs as well as his number, the last time no. 28 will be worn on a Blazers uniform.
Nidermayer will be autographing 40 of these jerseys, with 10 available during a blind auction during the game. A ballot box will be set up at the east end of the concourse behind section K. The 10 highest bids will receive an autographed jersey with a minimum bid of $350. High bidders will be contacted Monday.
— Jessica Wallace
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013