Tag Archives: Edinburgh Capitals

Hockey Jerseys – A Play On Numbers

The Great One started off life wearing the number 9, in honour of his hockey hero, Gordie Howe. When he was drafted 3rd overall by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the 1977 OMJHL draft, the number 9 was already taken by Brian Gualazzi. Coach Muzz MacPherson made the suggestion that Wayne should wear number 99 instead. He agreed and the rest is history.

The first use of jersey numbers in ice hockey can officially be tracked back to the 1911/1912 season, where players in the National Hockey Association (the predecessor of the NHL!) required numbered armbands. The Patrick brothers who founded the PCHA put numbers on players’ backs so they could sell programs in which the players were listed by their numbers.

The first ever retired jersey was that of Ace Bailey, whose #6 was retired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1934 following a career-ending fight with Eddie Shore during a game against the Boston Bruins in 1933. To make matters worse, the fight happened because Shore mistook Bailey for another player!

But why do players choose the numbers they do? Is there any meaning behind it?

Well, yes, for many there are, but it’s not as black and white as it was their hero’s number, or their birthday. We spoke to numerous players at all different levels and found out that it could be simply their first ever number or it could be to do with Greek mythology!

From NHL to EIHL to Rec to juniors – Here’s what the players themselves had to say:

39 ritt18-19rosterphoto

Evan Ritt (Guildford Flames): “Number 39 was just given to me. It was my first ice hockey number ever, I wore it from when I was 7 to when I went to play juniors”

Carter Hart

Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers): “My first development camp with the Flyers they gave me 79, just because the rookies get the higher numbers. Connor (a 7-year-old autistic boy) and Cavan (6-year-old) were there since Day One when I was in Everett. I remember those two kids ever since I started playing there.

“When I came back to Everett, Connor was there waiting for me, like he usually did, and he was yelling at me trying to show me his new jersey. He had a Flyers’ jersey with Hart No. 79 on the back. When I saw that, I decided I had to stick with No. 79, because there is a No. 79 out there.

“I probably would have stuck with No. 70, because that was my number in juniors. But because Connor had the Hart No. 79 Flyers’ jersey on, I realized I couldn’t change the jersey number now. I didn’t think Connor would have been too happy if I had the wrong jersey with the wrong number on the back. Because it was Connor, he was one of our biggest fans and it was really cool how much love Connor and Cavan gave us. To them, they’re 6, 7 years old, they look up to us. I couldn’t let them down.”

Patrick Killeen

Patrick Killeen (MK Lightining): “I have no real reason for wearing my current number. I’ve worn a couple other numbers but I’ve always enjoyed wearing number 1. Although, next season I would like to switch to number 32 because it’s my son’s birthday (March 2nd). I never really had a reason to care about which number I wore.  I just liked #1 and how traditional it was and how simple and clean it looked on a Jersey.  I was given #1 in the OHL because you had to wear a traditional goalie number (1, 30 or 31). I was given 1 because the other two were taken already. When I turned pro I didn’t really see any reason to change it. Although I wore #40 for a few months in Orlando. When I went to college I went back to #1 and then kept it so far throughout my pro career.”

Matt Ginn

Matt Ginn (Manchester Storm): “I don’t have any cool reason really. Wore it growing up playing minor hockey and that’s about it.”

08 ackered18-19rosterphoto

Calle Ackered (Guildford Flames): “15 was my first choice but when I saw that number was retired in Guildford, I had number 8 as my second choice because I had that number when I was very young playing football and had a lot of success. I really like number 8 now!”

Blaze Shields-Pettitt

Belfast Junior Giants netminder, Blaze Shields-Pettitt chose number 33 in homage to the ex-Edinburgh Caps netminder Kevin Forshall.

 

The junior system stateside is slightly different than the UK in regards to player numbers, as explained by Ashley, our resident Anaheim Ducks writer:

“I’m sat talking to my nephew – He originally wore number 23 as it’s his birthday but he was then moved to number 3 because he moved to top line and there’s a weird rule on junior jerseys and lines apparently. When he plays up for the U11’s he wears number 32 because it’s his birthday backwards.

“He moved from number 3 to number 9 for the u9’s…because he grew out of the number 3!”

Jaq Inglis

Our resident Dundee CTP writer, Jaq Inglis: “I wore 8 because it was my Maw’s field hockey number when she played. Hasn’t served me that well though!”

And Jaq isn’t alone in choosing a number in honour of his mother – He’s joined by NHL superstar Alex Ovechkin! Tatyana Ovechkina wore 8 as a point guard for the Russian women’s basketball team that won gold medals at the 1976 and 1980 Summer Olympics.

Ovi and Crosby

NHL superstar Sidney Crosby wears the number 87 because his birthday is on the 7th August 1987 (8/7/87 in American!)

Mhairi Dobbin

Mhairi Dobbin (Caledonia Steel Queens): “I wear 30 because I wanted a classic goalie number, but thought 1 was too intense – didn’t wanna give the impression I was any good!”

Sam Duggan

Sam Duggan (Cardiff Devils): “There’s no real reason I guess, it’s just always been my favourite number for some reason, and I’ve always worn it if I’ve been able too!”

Olli Hampson

IceTime TV commentator Olli Hampson: “I wore # 17 in juniors because my favourite player at the time was Russ Romaniuk, and currently where # 92 because I’m unoriginal and it helps me remember my year of birth better!”

Nate Schmidt

Nate Schmidt (Vegas Golden Knights): “I went to Washington for my first development camp as an unsigned free agent. All of us guys in that boat, we got high numbers. From 85 to like 98. They gave me 88 and, to be honest, it was a little high for my liking. But I wasn’t going to say anything. Then, when I signed with Washington and went to camp, it was there in my stall. So, I was 88. And now I’ve just always worn it. It’s funny but we get attached to numbers. Now it’s part of what defines me as a hockey player.

“Some of my buddies call me 8s. And my godson Clark, he only knows me as 8-8. He sees me on TV and says, ‘8-8.’ So, even if I wanted to change, I can’t now!”

 

Ex-NHL’er Steve Heinze wore number 57, purely because of the famous Heinze ketchup’s 57 varieties!

Steve Heinze

Then there’s Jordin TooToo… And yes, he did wear number 22!

 

And of course there’s the number reverse, which is exactly how Steve Stamkos decided to wear the number 91 jersey. His intention was to wear the number 19 jersey that his heroes Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman wore, but when he arrived at the Sarnia Sting and realised the number was taken, he flipped the numbers and it’s stuck ever since.

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Only 1 player in the NHL has ever worn the number 0 – Hartford Whalers defenseman Neil Sheehy in 1988. When his family emigrated from Ireland, their name was O’Sheehy. Neil figured it was the best way to get the O’ back on his back.

jaromir jagr

There’s political reasons behind some numbers. The most famous of which would be Jaromir Jagr. The Czech winger donned the number 68 in honour of the “Prague Spring” in 1968, where democratic reform movement tried to free Czechoslovakia from Soviet domination.

Adam Goss

Adam Goss (MK Lightning): “Sure I’ll tell you the story but it’s kinda weird and long. In university I took a few electives in Greek and Norse history as part of the core curriculum (it was a liberal arts university) and through that I really became fascinated with the mythology part. So outside of class I took a deep dive into the stuff and kinda empathised with the people and loved their god culture where people would pay tribute to all these different gods.

“This led me to start doing it in hockey because some of them relate pretty well to sport and going to battle and that stuff. So now I pay tribute to 8 Greek (Olympian) gods and 4 Norse gods before a game, if I’m playing. Hence the number 84…. Could’ve been 48 though I guess!”

Miika Wiikman Coventry Blaze

Former Panthers, MK & Blaze netminder Miika Wiikman has always worn 20 and because it was Ed Belfours number.

Peterborough Phantoms Jordan Marr & Glasgow Clan’s Joel Rumpel both wear number 33 because it was Patrick Roy’s number

Brett Perlini Brit

Brett Perlini (Nottingham Panthers): “My Favourite number is actually 11 because my dad wore it in Guildford and had it retired. I would look up to the rafters every time I was on the ice as a kid, and see PERLINI 11 up there and I thought that was really cool. When 11 is unavailable I then go to number 9. A lot of hockey greats wore this number like Howe and Gretzky (before 99 obviously) so I think it represents a scorers number and that’s what I try to be”


So from paying homage to their favourite players or even parents – From having to choose a different number if their first pick was taken, to political reasons – From having a number chosen for you to choosing a number which sounds like your name – Most numbers do have a backstory.

And there are so many more stories out there. If you know of any good ones, let us know! And be sure to speak to your favourite players and ask them the next time you see them, because it’s a personal choice which they made and wear proudly in front of us each week.

 

 

 

Photo credits: Scott Wiggins Photography, John Uwins Photography, Guildford Flames, MK Lighting, IHUK, NHL.com

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Player Spotlight | Bari McKenzie

“It was an absolute honour and a privilege to be a part of Fife this year. I didn’t realise it at the time but it’s a huge achievement. I’m certainly not still going to be playing for their 90th or 100th. I might be watching though.” Bari Mckenzie begins as we sit down to talk about his move to the team.

Continue reading Player Spotlight | Bari McKenzie

‘That’s no a dragon’ – which EIHL team has the best mascot?

gritty
Be afraid. Photo Credit – Gritty’s Twitter

With the announcement of the Philadelphia Flyers new mascot Gritty, something of a debate occurred on the CTP group chat; which EIHL team has the best mascot?

 

I am unqualified to make this decision. All mascots are valid, and bring joy and entertainment to thousands at each game. However, in the words of hit movie Highlander; “There can only be one!”. Who’s mascot will come out on top? What exactly is Lightening Jack?

And just how many people can I make angry in one post? Let’s go!

Continue reading ‘That’s no a dragon’ – which EIHL team has the best mascot?

Chasing the… Predictions

Predictions are great. That’s why it was necessary for me to pester all of the CTP EIHL writers to make some picks on what they reckon will shake out in the forthcoming 2018/19 EIHL season. As fair forewarning, there are some shameless homers and there are some wildcards. Some genuine ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ even, but that’s what makes it fun. AMIRITE? There is also potential for a revisit at the end of the season to calculate exactly how stupidly wrong everyone was. Already stoked for that.

Colin Cowan – Belfast Giants

Team Picks

  • Challenge Cup: Cardiff Devils, Andrew Lord has guided his side to the last four Challenge Cup finals and this has seen them lift the trophy on two occasions.
  • League: Nottingham Panthers, with the experience that has come in I expect the Panthers to have a successful season and I can see them pipping the Devils for the title.
  • Playoffs: Belfast Giants Much like the Panthers, the Giants have had a lot of changes this offseason with 12 new players coming in. I think the team, build on size and speed is tailor-made for a good run at the Play Offs.
  • Most Underrated: Guildford Flames

Player Picks

  • Top Points: Luke Pither
  • Top PIMs: Zack Fitzgerald
  • Top N/M: Tyler Beskorowany
  • Looking forward to watching (Giants): Francis Beauvillier, coming straight from the AHL and drafted in the 2012 NHL draft by the Florida Panthers. He will be looking to impress in his debut season in Europe. Another player on the Giants roster that has come through the University system and he will be hoping he can make a similar impact to the one made by Darcy Murphy last season.
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of league): Mike Hedden, he joins the Devils after three consecutive years in the DEL where he put up good numbers. He also has an abundance of experience in the AHL early on in his career. He has already looked impressive for the Devils in their early Champions Hockey League games and I’m looking forward to seeing if he can continue this form in the Elite League.

Hailey Sawle-Mason – Cardiff Devils

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Cardiff
  • League: Cardiff
  • Playoffs: Cardiff
  • Most Underrated: Dundee

Player picks

  • Top points: Mike Hedden
  • Top PIMs: Trey Lewis
  • Top N/M: Beskorowany
  • Looking forward to watching (my team): Ben Blood
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of league): Patrick Killeen

Ollie Hampson – Cardiff Devils

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Cardiff Devils
  • League: Nottingham Panthers
  • Playoffs: Belfast Giants
  • Most Underrated: Guildford Flames – people are talking about them, but not as seriously as they should be.

Player picks

  • Top points: Luke Pither – Nottingham
  • Top PIMs: Zach Fitzgerald- Glasgow
  • Top N/M: Tyler Beskorowany – Belfast
  • Looking forward to watching (my team): Stephen Dixon – really shown a lot of promise and really growing with each game in the pre-season and CHL, looks like a really tough, gritty player.
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of league): Kevin Morris – Coventry Blaze, looks like a mean piece of work. Going to cause hell physically and on the scoresheet, really impressed me so far.

Adam Partoon – Coventry Blaze

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Pessimist – Belfast / Optimist – Coventry
  • League: Pessimist – Cardiff / Optimist – Coventry
  • Playoffs: Pessimist – Cardiff / Optimist – Coventry
  • Most Underrated: Coventry

Player picks

  • Top points: Morris
  • Top PIMs: Trey Lewis (trying to recreate all his Fortnite Gaming on the ice)
  • Top N/M: Bowns
  • Looking forward to watching (my team): Ben Lake – was a pleasure to watch last year, and this year he is even more ignited. He seems like a man on a mission and his aggressive play is great.
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of league): Bryce Reddick – well, more precisely, Reddick when he is playing Blaze. He seems to have formed quite a rivalry after dropping gloves in pre-season!

Robin Allen – Coventry Blaze

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Cardiff
  • League: Cardiff
  • Playoffs: Cardiff
  • Most Underrated: Coventry

Player picks

  • Top points: Luke Moffatt
  • Top PIMs: Liden Springer
  • Top N/M: Miika Wiikman
  • Looking forward to watching (my team): Jake Hansen
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of league): Joey Martin

Jaq Inglis – Dundee Stars

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Belfast Giants
  • League: Cardiff Devils
  • Playoffs: Nottingham Panthers
  • Most Underrated: Dundee Stars

Player picks

  • Top points: Matt Beca is pretty productive at this level
  • Top PIMs: Zach Fitzgerald
  • Top N/M: Pontus Sjögren
  • Looking forward to watching (my team): I have a lot of love for Lukas Lundvald, hard working wee guy. He can put a few away too.
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of league): Tyler Biggs just on a fan intrigue level, he was talked about a lot, coming out of juniors.

Andrew Birrell – Fife Flyers

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Panthers
  • League: Devils
  • Playoffs: Panthers
  • Most Underrated: Dundee

Player picks

  • Top points: Perlini
  • Top PIMs: Zack FitzGerald
  • Top N/M: Shane Owen
  • Looking forward to watching (my team): Everyone
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of league): All the teams

Mhairi Dobbin – Glasgow Clan

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Nottingham
  • League: Cardiff
  • Playoffs: Belfast
  • Most Underrated: Clan!

Player picks

  • Top points: Mike Hammond
  • Top PIMs: Gratton
  • Top N/M: Bowns
  • Looking forward to watching (my team): Joel Rumpel. Kelly Cup Champion, Hobey Baker finalist, looking forward to seeing what he does with the Clan.
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of the league): Jordan Buesa. Played for Clan last year as a youth, curious to if his playing style will change at all now the cage is off

Aidan Grant – Glasgow Clan

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Clan
  • League: Panthers
  • Playoffs: Devils
  • Most Underrated: Guildford

Player picks

  • Top points: Hurtubise
  • Top PIMs – Doty
  • Top N/M: Beskorawny
  • Looking forward to watching (my team): Brendan Connolly, in particular working with Pitt and Beca.
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of league): Mike Hammond, will be interesting to see how he does without Pitt and Beca!

Mike Maidens – Guildford Flames

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Panthers
  • League: Devils
  • Playoffs: Guildford Flames. I think it’s our best shot at silverware and I genuinely think we can do it

Player picks

  • Top points: Dunbar
  • Top PIMs: Hard to look past Fitzy
  • Top N/M: Bowns or Garnett
  • Most excited to see Crooks for Flames: Excellent sniper who on his day should destroy some defences. Baldwin in D is going to be very interesting also as he adds some much needed size and strength to our defence
  • Rest of League: Hedden and Blood immediately spring to mind @Cardiff, but Olsen @Panthers looks handy

DinoBillington – Manchester Storm

Team picks

Challenge Cup: I think Belfast will retain.
League: Cardiff (again…)
Playoffs: Storm
Most Underrated: Storm

Player picks

  • Top points: Hammond
  • Top PIMs: Bakker
  • Top N/M: Bowns, man’s a god
  • Looking forward to watching (my team): Dallas Ehrhardt
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of league): Ben Bowns

Hazel Rayson – MK Lightning

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Nottingham
  • League: Cardiff
  • Playoffs: Belfast
  • Most Underrated: MK Lightning

Player picks

  • Top points: Luke Ferrara
  • Top PIMs: I don’t want it to be Zack FitzGerald, but I think it might be. Or Trey Lewis of the Coventry Blaze, the last couple of games have shown he’s not afraid to get stuck in.
  • Top N/M: Tyler Beskorowany
  • Looking forward to watching (my team): Patrick Killeen
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of league): Miika Wiikman

Will Hobson – Nottingham Panthers

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Nottingham Panthers
  • League: Cardiff
  • Playoffs: Nottingham Panthers
  • Most Underrated: MK

Player picks

  • Top points: Alex Guptill
  • Top PIMs: Zack Fitzgerald
  • Top N/M: Ben Bowns
  • Looking forward to watching (my team): Alex Guptill – by far our best player in pre season. For me an ultimate player, he has speed, good skating ability skill and knows where the net is.
  • Looking forward to watching (rest of league): Eric Neiley – MK – always rated him when I saw him for Steelers in Nottingham and think he will a vital cog in the MK side.

Mark Duell – Sheffield Steelers

Team picks

  • Challenge Cup: Panthers
  • League: Cardiff
  • Playoffs: Cardiff
  • Most Underrated: Giants

Player picks

  • Top points: Martin (Devils)
  • Top PIMs: Lepine
  • Top N/M: Bowns
  • Looking forward to seeing as a Steeler: Ryan Rupert
  • Looking forward to seeing elsewhere: Mike Hedden of Cardiff

The Elite League Years: 2013-14

It was a memorable season for one EIHL team in 2012-13, the Nottingham Panthers as they scooped a fantastic treble. Could they repeat those efforts in 2013-14 or would it be a case of one season wonders? Time to read on as we look back on the eleventh season of the EIHL.

Continue reading The Elite League Years: 2013-14

From the Pen of an Unbiased Fan

November 5th, Skydome Arena and I’m back in block 7. It’s my old stomping ground here, where I started out, cheering for the Steelers in 2015. Only this time I’m cheering on one of my favourites, Miika Wiikman and the rest of the MK Lightning.

Now, let me tell you. In the three seasons that I have been an EIHL fan I have cheered for most of the teams. I love the Elite League, there are no underdogs here. Any team can win on any given night

From the first game I was drawn to the netminders. Firstly, it was Tyler Plante of the Sheffield Steelers and then Brian Stewart, formerly of the Coventry Blaze and now playing for the Guildford Flames.

Last season, while playing for the Nottingham Panthers I found myself drawn to our starting goalie Miika. It was only after watching a good few games and with the rise of my own blog Chasing The Puck, I decided I wanted to interview as many of the Elite League goalies as I could. I wanted to try and break down some of the long held beliefs about them. Namely, that goalies are a bit weird and get to know the men behind the metal cages. Those guys who defend our pipes.

I find watching a goalies play fascinating. They have a way about them that no other outfield player has. Be it the pre-game preparation of Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby or the steely concentration caught on camera by the most talented of the league photographers or the slide – side to side across the goal line – to gauge the distance and the range of movement they’ll need or even the tap of the stick off each post before play begins. There is something I find truly mesmerising.

From Coventry to Cardiff, Belfast to Braehead I have yet to find a goalie who wasn’t open and honest about the pressures they feel when on or off the ice. Whether that be Wiikman discussing the importance of good coaching in his youth or Brython Preece discussing the scary move away from home aged 15 to go and join the Ontario Hockey Academy.
I have interviewed players of all nationalities and each have their own unique style of play that I believe it differs depending on the place they got their training.

I have spoken to eight different goalies in the EIHL, although Mike Clemente, Stewart and Wiikman all come to mind, especially when ‘knocking off the nets’ comes up on a fan forum on the web.
I asked Miika about it after a particularly heated debate on facebook. He sends me a laughing emoji and tells me that only twice in his career has he knocked the net off on purpose. Later the same evening, after the game he played (in which the net came off it’s moorings a couple of times) he tells me I must have jinxed it!

My own personal feeling is this; I believe it depends on the style of play. If a goalie has trained in North America and Canada, their style of play is such that they can lean more on the posts as they are deeper into the ice there than they are in our own league. It’s the nature of the way they are brought up and this possibly could explain why the American Clemente and Canadian Stewart, are considered to be the worst offenders. Though a recent incident with Clemente and a dive at his own goal could definitely be considered deliberate!

Away from the ice, these guys are family orientated. Clemente for example comes from a large family of six boys so he says family time is so precious. He’s also the goalie that spends much of his travelling time napping, reading or eating. Learning to sleep in noisy places is a valuable skill, probably learned while trying to sleep back home in a busy house.

Cardiff goalie Ben Bowns talks about his dog Stitch, who comes to the arena and is fussed by staff and players alike. Stitch loves nothing more than his time in the dressing room. He’ll even get grumpy if Ben walks the long way around so as to avoid the dressing room!

Gary Russell, told me how as a youngster he had a serious Irn Bru problem and likes his tea, Yorkshire style, with milk and two sugars. His celeb man crush is David Beckham and the first thing he picks up after an away game? A piece of pizza! If you meet Moose in a bar, don’t buy him a beer. He doesn’t like how it tastes. Instead buy him an apple juice and ask about his cats.

You learn really interesting things about each player if you ask the right questions. Nothing is too silly or too obvious. I have laughed and joked with a fair few of them. To say that interviewing them has brought me confidence as a journalist would be an understatement. Goalies are some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and it’s why they will always be my absolute favourite.

________________________________

This article was originally published in the December issue of MK Lightning’s matchnight program and has been republished here, with permission, now the magazine is no longer in print. All images are my own other than the photo of Ben Bowns, which belongs to its rightful owner and has not been used here for profit in any way.