By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The rafters at the General Motors Centre just got a little bit more prestigious.
On Oct. 2, Marc Savard’s No. 27 was hoisted to the ceiling during an emotional pre-game ceremony that included Savard alongside his wife, two children and mother.
Savard is now only the fifth General in the team’s 80 year history to have his number retired and joins such noble company as Red Tilson (No. 9), Eric Lindros (No. 88), Bobby Orr (No. 2) and John Tavares (No. 91).
With 413 points in 238 regular season games with the Generals between 1993 and 1997, Savard is the franchise scoring leader and won the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the Ontario Hockey League’s top scorer in 1994-1995 and 1996-1997 seasons.
Delivering a tearful speech to the crowd of more than 4,000 inside the General Motors Centre, Savard later admitted he was surprised by his emotions.
“I didn’t think coming in here tonight I would be as emotional, but it’s such a big thing for me,” he said after the game, a 5-2 victory for Oshawa over the Windsor Spitfires. “It’s one of the highlights of my hockey career if not the highlight. For the Generals to retire my jersey with some of the names that I’ve gone up there with is pretty special. It’s been an incredible night.”
As a General, he says his fondest memory is scoring the game winning goal in Game 6 of the 1997 playoffs at the Civic Auditorium, the former home of the Generals. The goal was part of a 13 goal and 37 point performance that led Oshawa to its 11th J. Ross Robertson Trophy.
“That’s probably the highlight of my scoring career,” he says.
Savard went on to play over 800 career games in the NHL, including winning a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins before his career was cut short by concussions.
Born in Ottawa, Savard now calls Peterborough home and he says his relationship with the Generals is still something special to him.
“It’s near and dear to my heart, I’m always welcomed back with open arms,” he says. “All in all, I thank the Generals organization for a first class job.”