The National Hockey League is known for its traditions and rituals. It is also known for its history of worshiping its heroes.
In the mid-1940s, Maurice "the Rocket" Richard's amazing exploits caused a large number of French-Canadien kids to request No. 9 sweaters for Christmas.
In Detroit and most hockey circles in North America, Gordie Howe's No. 9 was also selling like hot cakes in sporting-goods stores.
The reason the number is so popular and revered was due to the early exploits of those two exceptional hockey players.
Bobby Hull has spoken about his excitement in meeting Gordie Howe when he was a boy. Hull graduated from St. Catherine's in junior hockey and was signed by the Chicago Black Hawks.
He eventually claimed No. 9 once he became a legitimate star in the NHL.
Soon the number became the trademark of elite players in the NHL and on every corner in minor hockey.
Children and their parents would often battle to determine which of the star players on the team would receive the number.
Wayne Gretzky, who was a huge Gordie Howe fan, wore No. 9 while playing youth hockey until he had to switch to 99 due to another player already claiming the 9 sweater.
Let's look at some of the famous 9's who made a name for themselves in the NHL.