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Thread: Hashtag 13

  1. #1
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    Dobber Sports Samurai

    Default Hashtag 13

    Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13. In honour of Friday the 13th, I wanted to see how many players have worn the number 13 in the NHL. Over the course of my very unremarkable hockey career, I would often take the number 13 if it was available. Many players are superstitious and believe that the number evokes bad luck.

    During my research, I came across a neat little website at www.hockey-reference.com that listed all NHL players and the numbers they wore by year. The site mentions that it only tracks sweater numbers starting from the 1950-51 season, but they do have one guy listed from the 1921-22 season who incidentally wore number 13. Edmond Bouchard played with Montreal and he may have been the first to wear what many consider an unlucky number.

    After Bouchard, the next player listed as having worn #13 was the Rangers Jack Stoddard during the 1951-52 season. Only one player wore the number in the 1972-73 campaign and during the 2001-02 season, a high of 19 players played a game with that special number. Overall, they have 90 different players listed as having worn the #13.

    This season, there are 12 players wearing the #13, although if we count Raffi Torres, who hasn't played yet this year, it would make for a nice bit of symmetry. Players that wear #13 this season include the totally awesome Pavel Datsyuk, potential rookie of the year Johnny Gaudreau, Nick Bonino, Cam Atkinson, the totally awful Olli Jokinen, Kyle Clifford, Kevin Hayes, Nick Spaling, Dan Carcillo, Cedric "the Entertainer" Paquette, Steve Pinizzotto and Colin McDonald.

    Mike Cammalleri wore #13 last year, but now with the Devils he wears #23...better not to tempt fate I guess. I do believe that #13 and #666 are the only numbers not available to the Devils players.

    Some names you might recognize who have worn #13 in the past include recent retirees Teemu Selanne and Ray Whitney, Andrew Cogliano, Alex Tanguay, Mike Santorelli, Alex Goligoski, Mats Sundin, Bill Guerin, Carlo Colaiacovo, Valeri Bure, Vyacheslav (a.k.a. Slava) Kozlov, Vinny Prospal, Alexei Zhamnov, Geoff Sanderson, Valeri Kamensky, Pavel Kubina and one of my favourite players ever, Ken "the Rat" Linseman.

    If he had chosen another number, maybe things would have turned out differently for Patrik Stefan, who was drafted first overall by Atlanta in 1999. Some say he may be the biggest draft bust ever, possibly even bigger than Nail Yakupov or Doug Wickenheiser. The next three picks after Wickenheiser were Dave Babych, Denis Savard and Larry Murphy with Paul Coffey going sixth overall that year (1980). Three of those four are now in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    TSN Commentator Ray Ferraro also wore the unlucky number in his final season in the NHL (2001-02), although he did have 10 points in 15 games with the St. Louis Blues. Be honest, how many of you knew he was actually a pretty decent player before working for TSN?

    Charlie Simmer also wore the #13, but I think most of us would consider him to have been very lucky in his life. He played on one of the most famous lines in hockey history, the Triple Crown Line when he was in Los Angeles. He was married to Terri Welles, who was the Playboy Playmate of the Year in 1981! Yeah, I think most of us would like some of that luck.

    Let's look at some other numbers of interest. Only three players have ever worn #99. The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, Wilf Paiment from 1979-80 to 1981-82 and Rick Dudley in the 1980-81 campaign.

    Only one player has ever worn the #98. Why? I guess a player wouldn't want anyone to think that he puts himself only one step below Gretzky. Brian Lawton was the first American taken first overall by the Minnesota North Stars at the 1983 entry draft. He was taken ahead of Sylvain Turgeon (not nearly as good as younger brother Pierre), but then came Pat Lafontaine and Steve Yzerman in the three/four slots. Suffice to say that Lawton didn't pan out quite as well as those two and nowhere near #99.

    Only four players have ever worn #87, Sidney Crosby, Pierre Turgeon, Donald Brashear and Liam O'Brien. Doug Glatt's favourite number, #69 has only been worn by Andrew Desjardins and Mel Angelstad. One of the best name/number combinations ever has to be #57 Steve Heinze, proving it takes all kinds.

    The lower you get in the numbers, the more guys you think would have worn them, which is true, but only to a certain point. You would assume that a number as famous as #9 would have the most number of players having worn it, but only 271 are listed since 1950-51. Attribute that to the fact that #9 was often the favourite number of the very best players and those players played for a long time with that number, NOT freeing it up for others to use.

    The most prolific number listed was #20 with 463 bodies calling that number theirs. Numbers 18 and 21 have 460 names attached to each of them. Neil Sheehy was the only player listed as wearing the #0 (1987-88). Both John Davidson in 1977-78 and Martin Biron in 1995-96 wore the #00. Remember, the database says that it is only counting from the 1950-51 season.

    I hope you enjoyed learning about sweater numbers as much as I did. Don't forget to watch out for black cats and whatever you do, don't walk under any ladders, especially today.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hashtag 13

    Never wore #13 but I'd never have a problem wearing it if I ever crossed that bridge. Good read though! Awesome research!


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