Heinze 57, Commodore 64 and the 25 Most Meaningful Jersey Numbers in NHL History

April WeinerCorrespondent IAugust 11, 2011

Heinze 57, Commodore 64 and the 25 Most Meaningful Jersey Numbers in NHL History

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    Athletes in every team sport have a number on their jersey to identify them.In the NHL, players are given numbers between 1 and 98. Anything less than 1 (0, fractions, decimals) are not permitted and anything over two digits is not permitted.

    Additionally, 99 was retired by the league to honor "The Great One."

    Sometimes, players get to choose their own number and other times, they're just assigned a number by the team.

    The fortunate players who get to choose their own number often choose a lucky number, stick with the one they've always worn or wear a number in honor of a family member.

    Some players though, choose a number that's cute or a deep and meaningful number.

    Here are 25 jersey numbers with some thought put into them.

25. The Sedins 22 and 33

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    Henrik and Daniel Sedin are identical twins, who both play for the Vancouver Canucks.

    While the two are identical, unfortunately they can't dress completely identically (on the ice, at least). This means that the two had to pick different numbers for their jerseys.

    They picked similar numbers though: 22 and 33; Henrik wears 33 and Daniel sports 22.

    Two twin numbers for two Swedish twins.

24. Zigmund Palffy 16

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    According to an item in an HFBoards thread, Zigmund Palffy wore number 16 during his time with the New York Islanders because his moves were sweet.

    In case it hasn't sunk in yet: sweet 16.

    Even if that wasn't really the reason Palffy chose 16, it's still a cute meaning to a jersey number; although perhaps there are other players who should be "sweet 16" instead.

23. Alexei Yashin 79

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    Alexei Yashin wore number 19 during his time with the Ottawa Senators. When he was traded to the New York Islanders, he wanted to keep it, but it was Bryan Trottier's number and retired.

    Some players often flip numbers when the one they want isn't available. Not Yashin.

    Yashin chose 79, because the seven kind of looked like a one.

    An interesting solution.

22. Deron Quint 5

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    Deron Quint played in the NHL for the Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, New Jersey Devils Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Islanders.

    When it was available, Quint wore number five.


    Because his last name is the Latin root meaning "five."

21. Scott Lachance 7

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    Scott Lachance played for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders.

    Lachance wore number 7 when it was available.


    Loosely translated, la chance means luck (or chance); so it was lucky number seven.

20. John Davidson 00

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    John Davidson was a goaltender for the New York Rangers. He generally wore number 30, but in 1977 decided to switch to 00 (back then, this was allowed).

    He wanted 00 because he was a goaltender and obviously zeroes look really good to goaltenders.

    Ironically, when Davidson wore 00, he only recorded one shutout.

    Yikes; that defeated the purpose.

    Photo courtesy of: sportsillustrated.cnn.com

19. Neil Sheehy 0

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    Neil Sheehy played for the Calgary Flames, Hartford Whalers and Washington Capitals.

    He wore the number 0, one of only two players in NHL history to wear 0, before it was not allowed anymore.

    The reason he wore 0?

    His family emigrated to North America and when they arrived, their name was shortened from O'Sheehy to Sheehy.

    So, Sheehy thought that wearing 0 would be the only way to get the "O" back in his name.

    Photo courtesy of: sikids.com

18. Eric Lindros 88

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    Eric Lindros, of the Philadelphia Flyers and other teams, wore 88.

    The number was an homage to his mentor, a former official and the father of one of his childhood friends, who wore 8.

    When Lindros played for the Oshawa Generals, 8 was taken so he changed his number to 88.

17. Ray Bourque 77

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    Ray Bourque began his long career with the Boston Bruins in 1980. The team assigned him number 7, the number of former Bruins great Phil Esposito.

    In 1987, the team decided to retire Esposito's number. At the ceremony, Bourque approached Esposito, removed his 7 jersey and handed it to Esposito.

    Underneath, Bourque was wearing a new 77 jersey, which would remain his number, even when he moved to the Colorado Avalanche, thereby giving Esposito his number back.

16. Pavel Bure 96

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    Pavel Bure first arrived in North America on September 6, 9/6, and wanted to commemorate that on his jersey.

    However, the Vancouver Canucks didn't want to give him 96 and they assigned him 10 instead.

    A few years later, Bure was allowed to change it to 96, the number he had always wanted. However, two poor seasons and injury followed, so Bure change it back to 10.

15. Bobby Orr 4

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    When Bobby Orr first joined the Boston Bruins, he wanted to be number 2, the number he had worn in juniors.

    However, he was assigned number 27.

    Then, after another player was cut, Orr was eventually assigned 4, which was closer to the number he wanted.

    Bobby Orr's 4 is legendary now and it rhymes with his name--what could be better?

14. Sidney Crosby 87

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    Sidney Crosby was born on August 7, 1987--8/7/87 or 8787.

    That became his lucky number and that's why he wears 87 now.

    In addition to it being his jersey number, it's also his annual cap hit ($8.7 million) on his current contract. His use of the number 87 even caused one reporter to make a joke about it.

13. Mario Lemeiux 66

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    Wayne Gretzky came onto the scene a few years before Mario Lemieux did. When Lemieux hit the scene, the view was that he'd be a rival to Gretzky.

    So, Lemieux's agent suggested that he wear number 66, because it's a mirror image of Gretzky's 99.

    Lemieux took the suggestion and the rest is history.

12. Wayne Gretzky 99

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    The number 99 wasn't a very common jersey number. In fact, besides Wayne Gretzky, only two others player ever wore it-- Wilf Paiement and Rick Dudley.

    So how did Gretzky end up wearing 99?

    He wanted to wear 9, the number of his idol Gordie Howe. When he joined his junior team, 9 was taken.

    His coach suggested an alternative: if you can't wear one 9, how about two? 99 was born.

11. Maurice "Rocket" Richard 9

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    Maurice "Rocket" Richard's first season with the Montreal Canadiens saw him wearing number 15 on his jersey.

    In 1943, Richard's first child, a daughter was born. She weighed nine pounds at birth.

    The following season, Richard requested and was permitted to change his number to 9, in honor of his little girl.  

10. Jari Kurri

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    Jari Kurri played for the Edmonton Oilers and wore number 17.

    Kurri hails from Finland, which became an independent nation in 1917.

    Is that the reason he wore 17? I couldn't find confirmation yes or no, but even if it wasn't, it would be a nice meaning behind his number.

9. Peter Klima: 85

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    Peter Klima played for the Edmonton Oilers, among others, and wore 85.

    Klima defected from Czechoslovakia to play hockey in North America in 1985 and his jersey number was an homage to that event.

8. Kevyn Adams: 42

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    While Kevyn Adams played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, he wore number 42.

    The reason was that Adams was a big fan of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which claimed that the number 42 was the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

    That's a deep meaning to a jersey number.

    Photo courtesy of: sportsillustrated.cnn.com

7. Jordan Tootoo: 22

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    Jordin Tootoo has played for the Nashville Predators. He wears 22 and when 22 wasn't available, he wore 55, the mirror of 22.

    Tootoo wears 22 because of his name: Tootoo=Twotwo=22.

6. Alexander Mogilny: 89

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    Alexander Mogilny defected from the Soviet Union in 1989 to play for the Buffalo Sabres.

    In honor of that, Mogilny chose to wear 89 as his his jersey number; like Peter Klima with Czechoslovakia and 85.

5. Jaromir Jagr: 68

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    Jaromir Jagr wears 68, in honor of the Prague Spring in 1968 in his home country of Czechoslovakia.

    The Prague Spring was when Czechoslovakia open their borders up to the West; an act which did not sit well with the USSR. The USSR then invaded and posted tanks in Prague.

    Jagr wears 68 to remind the world about the Prague Spring and to show pride in his country.

4. Satan: 6

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    Many people wish that Miroslav Satan would have worn the number 6, as it would appear once on the back and one on each sleeve: 666.

    Even better would have been if he could have worn six and played for the New Jersey Devils.

    Alas, it never came to fruition.

3. Heins 57

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    Shawn Heins played for the San Jose Sharks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Atlanta Thrashers in the NHL.

    While playing in Pittsburgh, Heins wore 57. If you change the "s" to a "z," it's like the Heinz ketchup bottle, with the 57.

    Plus, he played in Pittsburgh, where ketchup was invented and produced.

2. Commodore 64

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    Mike Commodore shares his last name with one of the early models of the computer: the Commodore 64.

    Fans have been hoping and trying to get Commodore to wear 64 in honor of that and even started an online campaign to get him to wear it in 2011-12 with Detroit.

    However, Commodore elected to wear 22 instead.

1. Heinze 57

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    Steve Heinze played for the Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings.

    When he began his career with Boston, Heinze wanted to wear 57, as a play on his last name. However, the Bruins did not grant his request.

    Heinze finally got to wear 57 with Columbus and remained 57 for the rest of his career.