WASHINGTON - Hall of Famer Mike Gartner's No. 11 was retired by the Washington Capitals on Sunday night before their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, another of his former NHL teams.
Alex Ovechkin and the other current Capitals all took to the ice for pre-game warmups wearing white throwback uniforms with Gartner's number in blue, although each player had his own last name stitched across the shoulders. The jerseys were to be auctioned off during the game to benefit a charity chosen by Gartner.
"I'd like to thank the players for wearing the No. 11 tonight. It was tremendous," Gartner said during the ceremony, which delayed the start of the game by about 25 minutes. "I certainly know if there were five No. 11s on the ice at the same time, there wouldn't be enough puck to go around."
Gartner - known for his skating speed and scoring ability, as well as his trademark moustache - is the fourth member of the Capitals to have his number retired. He ranks second in club history in goals (397), assists (392) and points, having played 10 of his 19 NHL seasons in Washington.
He finished with 708 goals, sixth in NHL history, and a record 17 seasons with at least 30 goals. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
"You made us exhausted trying to keep up with you, I'll tell you that," said Wes Jarvis, Gartner's former Capitals teammate and business partner. "Garts, you loved to score - slap shots, wrist shots, tip-ins. You did it in all ways."