Number Nine Is Too Sacred For Just Anybody

  When Wayne Gretzky retired, the entire league, every team, agreed the proper thing to do was to retire jersey no. 99 permanently so no other player would ever wear it.


This is absolutely reasonable. Gretzky deserves this honour. He was Gretzky, for goodness sakes.


But there’s another number out there that deserves the same royal treatment. Number nine.


Number nine was the number of Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, and of course, Maurice Richard.


How can you argue with that? Number nine shouldn’t be worn by Steve Downie or Oscar Moller. Number nine was worn by Mr. Hockey, the Golden Jet, and the Rocket, three of the greatest ever, right up there at the top of the mountain. It’s a sacred number.


Currently there are 15 teams of the 30 with a player wearing number nine. It doesn’t seem right.


I think all but two of these players should surrender their number nine, choose another one, and carry on. The two players, Mike Modano in Dallas and Paul Kariya in St. Louis, have had too good a career to not wear these sweaters. But when they retire, so goes the number.


Here are the other 13 players currently wearing number nine.


Eric Christensen – Atlanta

Derek Roy – Buffalo

Steven Weiss – Florida

Oscar Moller – LA

Mikko Koivu – Minnesota

Zach Parise – New Jersey

Brendan Bell – Ottawa

Scottie Upshall – Philadelphia

Pascal Dupuis – Pittsburgh

Milan Michalek – San Jose

Steve Downie – Tampa Bay

Niklas Hagman – Toronto

Taylor Pyatt – Vancouver

7 thoughts on “Number Nine Is Too Sacred For Just Anybody”

  1. Dennis,

    What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;

    What’s in a number? that which we call an i.d.
    By any other number would count as much;


  2. Dennis,

    You raise a good point that number 9 is a sacred hockey number. But there is no way that number 9 deserves to be retired from hockey. True, the rocket, Mr. Hockey and the golden jet all wore that number but how many people have worn that number before them and after them? number nine without a doubt is the greatest hockey number off all time but it doesnt have that same uniqueness that 99 does, nobody wore it before Gretzky and with his accomplishments nobody should wear it after him. Besides all that, where do you draw the line with retiring numbers? because 19 makes just as strong as case as 9 does with the likes of Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman, and Bryan Trottier all wearing it. With the exception of Gordie Howe and his padded stats due to his far to lengthy career, Sakic, Yzerman, and Trottier rank much higher than Maurice Richard and Bobby Hull in just about every statistical category and there careers have been just as successful as Rockets, Gordies and Hulls. Point being the number 9 should never be retired because I love the history of the game and the players who have worn it and I want to continue to see the future stars of the game wear that number and do it proud.

  3. I stand corrected on saying Gretzky was the only player to wear 99……….Rick Dudley and Wilf Paiement also wore it. That would make for a hell of a trivia question though.

  4. I agree with Jordy- where do you draw the line? Why not also retire number 66? Nobody’s worn it since Mario, who’s arguably the most talented player ever to play the game.
    I think there’s already way too many jerseys being retired around the league, let’s not start retiring numbers league-wide. At this rate, what happens within 50 to 75 years? With 30 to 40 teams (dreams of expansion…), each producing at the very least 1 legend, you could end up with half the numbers retired!

  5. A good idea. I could see it happening. I’m sure there are cases t be made for all the low numbers here and there: Orr and Beliveau?

    While I think it is nice, I also like the idea that players get to wear the numbers of their heroes. Like Lecavalier with 4, for example.

    I could go either way…

  6. BTW Dennis did you know that apart from those 3 greats you mentionned, a couple of other notables have worn #9: Glenn Anderson, Pavel Bure, Ron Francis, Doug Gilmour, Adam Graves, Andy Bathgate, Denis Savard, and lastly none other than Len Barrie, current co-owner of the Lightning. If only for him, this idea can’t work… =)

  7. I’ve been thinking the same thing. But I think there we’re too many grreat hockey players wearing that number. I agree with Jordy. 99 was so unique. Nobody would have to ask who wore the 99. For 9 its not quite the same thing

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