OTTAWA -- Students from a south Ottawa school got a big surprise from Big Rig, scoring tickets to his jersey retirement.

Students jumped for joy and screamed with excitement when Chris Phillips, along with Spartacat, surprised a class of grade five students at Holy Cross Elementary School in Ottawa, Tuesday morning.

"This is to show them to keep setting goals for themselves," Said Chris Phillips, former Senators defenceman. " It gives them a great sense of accomplishment and pride when you do achieve it."

The "Sparty Party" is a prize awarded to classrooms that achieve reading goals through the Sens Learn to Read program, which aims to challenge both kids and educators.

"I'm very proud of these kids," says Valerie Nixon, the students' teacher. "We set a goal at the beginning of the month and not only did they meet their goal they surpassed it, and it was in French ... They worked really hard to get it."

Madame Nixon's class will head to the Canadian Tire Centre on February 18 to watch the Senators take on the Buffalo Sabres, but before the puck drops, a special ceremony is going to happen.

Number Four, Retired

Phillips hit the ice with the Senators during the 1997-98 season and played 72 games, socring 5 goals and earning 16 points. He went on to play 1,293 games, the longest serving player in franchise history.

The number four jersey will be raised to the rafters alongside his longtime teammate Daniel Alfredsson, number eleven, and Frank Finnigan, number eight.

"It's going to be an emotional night," he said. "Just to have that legacy of it being there forever it's hard to describe really."