Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis is on his way to New York after requesting -- and getting -- a trade.
Until now, the face of the franchise had declined to address rumors that had been swirling for weeks -- ever since Bolts general manager Steve Yzerman passed on adding St. Louis to the Canadian hockey team for the Olympics.
FOX 13's Kevin O'Donnell caught up with St. Louis at the airport before his flight to New York -- the Rangers hope to have him on the ice tonight. Before he left, St. Louis took the chance to thank the fans in Tampa, and said that while it is a "tough day," he's also looking forward to a fresh start.
KO: What can you tell the fans?
MSL: The only thing I can say is the fans in Tampa have been nothing but great to me and my family for many, many years, hands-down. A lot more than I was expecting here in Tampa.
I know it's a sad day for everybody and it's a sad day for me in many ways. I'm excited about what's ahead of me but it's the business and it's a tough day for everybody.
KO: A lot of fans wanted to see you finish with the Lightning. Was that something that's unattainable?
I just think this is what's best for me and my family as you find your way through the league. My kids are older now. I guess I did not expect to maybe still be performing and playing at the level that I am at this age. Family was a big part of the equation.
KO: Stanley Cup, Olympics: Have you done it all?
MSL: Everybody wants to win a Cup and gold medals. I'm fortunate enough to have done that but I'd still like to win another Cup. Especially now that my kids are older and they would remember it. But unfortunately it's not going to be here.
I feel for the fans. I'm thankful for everything they brought. They really made me feel at home. In a lot of ways, I grew up here. As a player, this is where I grew up. I know it's hard for them and it's not an easy thing for me either.
KO: Why leave when the Bolts have a shot at a Cup this year?
MSL: Things happen in this business. It is what it is. Like I said, I haven't really had a chance to collect all my thoughts but I want to make sure I say thank you to the Tampa fans for everything they've done for me.
KO: What will you miss about Tampa?
MSL: I don't know if it's one particular thing. This was home. It's going to be different.
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