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