This week saw the addition of two players who will have their numbers retired this season by their former NHL teams. The Washington Capitals will retire Mike Gartner’s number and the Vancouver Canucks will do the same for Trevor Linden. The Montreal Canadiens announced earlier in the summer that they would be retiring Patrick Roy’s number.
There typically isn’t a criterion for retiring a player’s number but if you look down the list of the 95 NHL players who have had their number retired, you will see some of the best who have ever played the game.
There is also another possible motive behind a team retiring a number-marketing. A smart marketing move would be to pick a night when a sellout is not likely and use the ceremony that typically goes with the number retirement to help sell tickets.
Click on the Wikipedia link below and have fun going down the list of players.
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This is a complete list of National Hockey League (NHL) retired numbers. A retired number is a jersey number that is taken out of circulation by a team as a means of honouring a former member of that team who wore that number.
The first team to retire a number were the Toronto Maple Leafs, who retired Ace Bailey‘s #6 on February 14, 1934, prior to an All-Star game in his honour.
There are currently 95 retired numbers in the NHL. There are also 13 honoured numbers, all issued by the Toronto Maple Leafs. A further 7 numbers were retired, by the Hartford Whalers and Quebec Nordiques, but upon the relocation of the two teams the numbers were put back into circulation.
Only one number has been retired league-wide. Upon the retirement of Wayne Gretzky, it was announced that no other player would again wear his number, 99. The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings have also separately retired Gretzky’s number.
Upon joining the league in 2000, the Minnesota Wild had a ceremony retiring #1 from circulation as a tribute to the fans.
Only five players have had their number retired by two different teams:
- Bobby Hull – Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets
- Gordie Howe – Detroit Red Wings and Hartford Whalers
- Wayne Gretzky – Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings (also retired league-wide)
- Ray Bourque – Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche
- Mark Messier – New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers