Jason Duda, the Wichita Thunder's career leader in every major offensive category, will have his jersey retired at the team's home opener on Oct. 16.
Duda's No. 11 will hang alongside the retired uniforms of Bobby Desjardins, Rob Handy and Rob Weingartner at Intrust Bank Arena.
A fan favorite and the face of the franchise, Duda enjoyed a memorable career.
After he was acquired from the rival Oklahoma City Blazers in perhaps the franchise's best trade, Duda played 14 seasons in Wichita, scoring 870 points in 730 games. When a nagging back injury ended his career last season, he took over as the team's interim coach.
Duda will serve as the assistant for new coach Kevin McClelland.
"Jason has given everything he has to this organization," general manager Joel Lomurno said. "It's a no-brainer that he deserves this honor."
Duda often joked about his lack of speed, but he made up for that weakness with hockey instincts, soft hands and great playmaking ability — skills that earned him a place on the Central Hockey League's all-decade team.
"You always had to be aware of him on the ice because he was gonna put the puck in the back of the net by the end of the night," McClelland said.
When Duda, a native of Sexsmith, Alberta, is asked to reflect on his career, he nearly always mentions that he now considers Wichita home. Countless times, he has said that he loves the city and Thunder fans.
"I would hope that people think of me as a loyal guy, someone who came to work every day and stayed through the good and the bad," Duda said.
In addition to the ceremony honoring Duda, the first home opener in Intrust Bank Arena will also feature a rivalry game: The Tulsa Oilers will be the opponent.
"It should be a great night," McClelland said. "We'll get to acknowledge Jason Duda and welcome in a new season against a close rival."