The National Hockey League is the purest form of professional sports our country has to offer. The best part of purity in sports is the sheer loyalty players have to their franchises, something that lacks in all three other leagues when compared to the NHL. Each player represents the opportunity that most express extremely passionately and proudly.
What takes purity away from the other, more popular professional sports leagues is very simple. The MLB has been tainted with performance-enhancing drugs for the last 20 years and continues with the most lucrative contracts, like Alex Rodriguez's multiple $250 million deals, while it seems as if the NBA and NFL can't go one week without a criminal charge on current and former athletes.
NHL fans make the league extremely special because they are respected by players in ways the NFL, NBA and MLB cannot compare. The newly-acquired Winnipeg Jets are the epitome of an incredible fanbase because, in reality, they have no connection to these players whatsoever, as the franchise moved from Atlanta. The Jets that the many Winnipeg faithful remember are now the Phoenix Coyotes, yet the entire fanbase flaunts passion and patience for the future—their five-year season ticket wait-list serving as perfect evidence.
The pride in the NHL is unmatched when compared to the MLB, NBA and NFL, and the most honorable feat a player can receive is to have his jersey number retired by his franchise. In extremely rare circumstances like Wayne Gretzky and Jackie Robinson, a jersey number is retired by the entire league, so you'll never see an NHL franchise or affiliate with a No. 99 uniform ever again.
As far as this current NHL season is concerned, many of the future banners to be hung are being worn right as we speak. Here are 25 current NHL jerseys you'll never see again...