Former Toronto Maple Leaf captain Doug Gilmour salutes the crowd at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday. ((Chris Young/Canadian Press))

The Toronto Maple Leafs paid tribute to one of the most beloved players in franchise history Saturday night, raising former captain Doug Gilmour's No. 93 jersey to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre.

The ceremony took place prior to the Leafs' home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. After watching his banner raised, Gilmour dropped the puck in a ceremonial faceoff between Toronto forward Nik Antropv and Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby.

In a short but emotional speech, Gilmour, flanked by his family and parents, thanked several people, including former Toronto coach Pat Burns and former Leafs general manager (and current team executive) Cliff Fletcher, the man who brought Gilmour to Toronto in a 10-player trade with the Calgary Flames in 1992.

"I want to say thank you to the fans. You guys cheered us each and every night. You inspired our hockey club to make us that much better. … I love you, God bless you all, thank you," Gilmour told the crowd.

During a stoppage in play late in the second period, a special video montage honouring Gilmour played on the scoreboard before the former Leafs captain and Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry were introduced to the crowd.

Gilmour, 45, is the 17th player to have his jersey raised to the rafters by the Maple Leafs. Other notable players who have been honoured include Johnny Bower (1), Red Kelly (4), King Clancy (7), Tim Horton (7), George Armstrong (10), Wendel Clark (17), Borje Salming (21), and Darryl Sittler (27).

Only two numbers, Bill Barilko's No. 5 and Ace Bailey's No. 6, are officially retired and out of circulation.

A seventh-round pick (134th overall) of the St. Louis Blues in the 1982 NHL draft, Gilmour is perhaps best known for his time with the Leafs from 1991-97 when he twice helped the club reach the conference finals (1993 and 1994) of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Gilmour, who earned the nickname "Killer" for his relentlessness and intensity on the ice, compiled 452 points in 392 games with the Maple Leafs.

He established Maple Leafs records for career playoff points (77) and assists (60) in just 52 games, set the team's single season records for points (127) and assists (95) in 1992-93, and collected a club-record six assists in one regular-season game.

Gilmour, from Kingston, Ont., retired with 450 goals and 1,414 points with 1,299 penalty minutes in 1,474 games over 23 NHL seasons with St. Louis, Calgary Flames, Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens.

He won a Stanley Cup with the Flames (in 1989), and the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward while with the Maple Leafs (in 1993).

Gilmour retired in September 2003 after his second tenure in Toronto was cut short by injury.

He currently serves as the coach of the Ontario Hockey League's Kingston Frontenacs.