TAMPA — While snowmobiling with friends Saturday afternoon outside Toronto, Chris Kontos noticed his phone start to ping repeatedly sometime shortly before 3 p.m.
About 20 minutes later, it started to light up again, right around the time Lightning captain Marty St. Louis scored his fourth goal of the game in a 5-4 loss to San Jose.
With his four-goal effort, St. Louis tied the team record set by Kontos in the inaugural game in franchise history on Oct. 7, 1992, a 7-3 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
“I started to hear (on the radio what was going on) and then all of a sudden I started to hear all this blip, blip, blip. And I think he got his third so friends and family were letting me know, like every other time once Stammer (Steven Stamkos) would do it or whoever,’’ Kontos said. “Then I got a bunch of texts saying that he tied it and a bunch of calls on top of that.’’
Kontos’ mark stood for more than 21 years until St. Louis added his name to yet another record in Lightning history.
“I’m thrilled. I’m glad. I was hoping he would break it,’’ Kontos said. “Usually it was Stamkos that every time he would get three goals my text and stuff would start to light up, ‘Oh get ready, he’s going to break your record.’ And it has taken 21 years or whatever but it hadn’t happened and finally it’s happened now. (Records) are made to be broken and I was even pulling for Marty (to break it).
“I’m ticked that he wasn’t picked for the (Canadian) Olympic team. He’s a veteran guy that’s putting up the kind of numbers to be there and I’m pulling for him.’’
Though Kontos finally has some company next to his name in the team record book, he will remain a big part of the history of the franchise for what he did on the memorable first night in franchise history.
“To be a part of an inaugural season and start it off with a bang, knowing the seeds that we laid eventually turned into a Stanley Cup,’’ Kontos said. “Hockey is alive and doing well in Tampa with the new ownership. It’s just great to know that I was a part of it.’’