In an emotional pre-game ceremony Wednesday evening at General Motors Place, Trevor Linden's 16 was raised to the rafters by the Vancouver Canucks.
"This is an incredible day," said Linden as he was wiping away tears. "To the fans of Vancouver and the province of B.C., it's hard to express my gratitude to you tonight. Thank you for letting me into your lives. Thanks for being incredible, passionate hockey fans."
The hour-long ceremony also featured video tributes from former Canuck coach and general manager Pat Quinn, former teammates Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison, golfer Mike Weir; and NBA player Steve Nash from Victoria.
The current Canucks team skated on the ice wearing No. 16 jerseys with Linden's name on the back during the warm-up. Linden's banner joins Stan Smyl's No. 12 as the only two numbers retired in the club's 38-year history.
"It's a great honour to be here tonight to celebrate with Trevor," said Smyl. "It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since the two of us took to the ice together. To this day I am very humbled to have my number hang in GM Place. Trevor, to share this honour with you is a great thrill."
With longtime Canucks broadcaster Jim Robson and current Canucks play-by-play broadcaster John Shorthouse hosting the ceremony, Linden was joined by family, friends, former teammates and a sold-out crowd prior to puck drop in Vancouver's game against the Edmonton Oilers.
A native of Medicine Hat, Alberta, Linden played for the Canucks, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals throughout his 19-year career. He collected 375 goals and 492 assists in 1,382 career games.
Linden, who announced his retirement on June 11, ranks second in team history in goals (318) and points (713), and first in assists (415) and games played (1,140).
After being selected second overall in 1988, Linden became the first Canucks rookie to score 30 goals in a season. He also played in a 482-game NHL ironman streak helped lead the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final in 1994.
Linden was also a recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (1997) and the NHL Foundation Player Award (2008) for significant contributions in his community.