Flyers cement Lindros' legacy with retirement of No. 88

Eric Lindros continues to make a difference in the hockey world off the ice, but further cements his legend as a Philadelphia Flyer when his No. 88 is raised to the rafters.

Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center, Eric Lindros will add another honour to his decorated NHL career when his No. 88 is retired by the Philadelphia Flyers before their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame (inducted in 2016), ‘The Big E’ will become the sixth player to have his number retired by the Flyers. Lindros will join goaltender Bernie Parent (No. 1), defencemen Mark Howe (No. 2) and Barry Ashbee (No. 4), left winger Bill Barber (No. 7), and centre Bobby Clarke (No. 16).

In honour of his number being raised to the rafters, and Lindros’ longstanding commitment to helping others, the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund is donating skates, gloves, helmets and goaltending equipment (valued at $7,500) to the Bucks County Special Needs Hockey Association in Philadelphia. Launched in 2007, the Bucks County Admirals provides special needs children and adults the opportunity to play hockey, and the program currently has over 40 players participating.

Although it’s been just over 10 years since he last suited up for an NHL game, Lindros continues to make a difference in the hockey world.

Lindros, who donated $5 million to London Health Sciences Centre in 2007, is the Honourary Chair for See the Line, a concussion and research initiative at Western University in his hometown of London, Ontario.

He also holds the annual Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic, which raises funds and awareness for Easter Seals, who provide programs and services to children and youth with physical disabilities across Ontario.

“Eric has developed a relationship and a rapport with the kids, which is fantastic. He really cares and you can see it,” said Coralie Jacobs, Senior Development Officer at Easter Seals Ontario.

Lindros was the focus of the hockey world even prior to his first NHL game, his size, skill and early success quickly made him a household name.

Already having claimed the 1990-91 Red Tilson Trophy as the most outstanding player in the OHL, an-18-year-old Lindros also helped Team Canada capture gold at the 1991 Canada Cup with three goals and five points at the tournament. Lindros would later play in three Olympic Games (1992, 1998, 2002), helping Team Canada break a 50-year gold-medal drought at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

After he was drafted first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1991, Lindros was dealt to the Flyers on June 20, 1992. The physically imposing forward would enjoy a memorable NHL debut. He lit the lamp in his first NHL game on Oct. 6, 1992, which was a sign of things to come for his first big-league campaign. He scored 41 goals (in 61 games) as a rookie, which remains a Flyers record, and he tallied 75 points.

Lindros became the youngest captain in Flyers history on Sept. 6, 1994 when he was given the ‘C’ at the age of 21. He tied for the league scoring lead with 70 points in 46 games in a lockout-shortened 1994-95 season. Lindros’ exceptional season earned him the nod from both his peers as the most outstanding player (Ted Lindsay Award, known at the time as the Lester B. Pearson Award) and the writers as the league’s most valuable player (Hart Trophy).

The following season, Lindros, who centred the "Legion of Doom" with linemates John LeClair and Mikael Renberg in the mid-1990s, recorded career-best marks in goals (47), assists (68) and points (115).

He also led Philadelphia on a long playoff run in 1997, accumulating 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) over 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games, helping the Flyers make it to the Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings.

In 486 games played with the Flyers, Lindros scored 659 career points (290 goals, 369 assists), placing him fifth all-time among Flyers scorers, while he averaged a franchise-best 1.35 points per game. The six-time NHL All-Star was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame in 2014.

Over the course of his 15-year NHL career, Lindros also suited up with the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars before announcing his retirement in 2007. He finished his NHL career with 865 points (372 goals, 493 assists) in 760 games and remains widely regarded as one of the most dominant power forwards in the history of the game.