Tag Archives: Just For Fun

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.

2pzlhj4

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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Behind The Bench – Evan Janssen

So we have made it to the 9th edition of Behind The Bench, and just in time for Christmas as promised! For the final interview from the bowling night you will need to turn up the volume because rather than just writing, the best part of the interview will be audio!

This mini bowling series seems to have gone on forever, but this really was the very last interview of the evening after most people had left. In fact, just the best friend duo of Evan Ritt and Evan Janssen remained out of the players. Janny was more than happy to come and chat and it seemed silly to not have his partner in crime join us at the table.

Now, several people will have already heard this interview because whereas before the interviews were quite low-key, all eyes were now on the table. With a small crowd gathered around, Janny & Ritt were more than happy to entertain us all!

Janssen and Ritt Guildford Flames Interview 3
Ritt & Janny facing some tough questions from CTP

Name? Evan Janssen

Age? 25

Position? Left wing

NHL team? Chicago Blackhawks

Hockey hero? Uhhhh…

Ritt: “Jim Montgomery?”

Janssen: “Yeah, Jimmy Montgomery”

Favourite UK rink (apart from the Spectrum!)? I’d have to say Sheffield… Yeah, it’s a nice rink

Mike: “What do you like about Sheffield?”

Janssen: “It’s a cool atmosphere, they get a big crowd and the rink is pretty nice, it’s a lot bigger”

Hidden talent/hockey party trick? Dancing. Next question!

Superstitions? Nope

Favourite actor? Chris Pratt

Ritt: (Laughing) “Ed Sheeran?”

Janssen: “No…. Chris and I are twins”

Ritt: “No no, I think Ed Sheeran’s more like it!”

Janssen: “I don’t know who Ed is”

Ritt: “He really likes Ed more!”

Janssen: “He’s not an actor!”

Ritt: “He’s a performer”

Janssen: “I’ve never heard of him”

Jansson Comparison
The 3 faces of Janny… A new ‘Triplets’ line for the Flames maybe?

Who is the dressing room prankster? “We really don’t do any… Have we?”

Ritt: “I said Benny or Willsy”

Janssen: “They’re just always after eachother”

Favourite band? Kygo!

Ritt: “Ed Sheeran!”

Janssen: “I don’t know who Ed Sheeran is”

Ritt: “He looks exactly like him”

Janssen: “No! I have no idea who he is. No clue”

Ritt: “He really likes the comparison but he’s being modest right now”

Janssen: “HATE the comparison”

Fan: “So you just need to colour your hair ginger?”

Ritt: “Yes! Absolutely”

Janssen: “No! I don’t have any ginger in me, I look nothing like him! Now Chris Pratt – We can talk”

Ritt: “No I don’t see it!”

Fan: “That’s been said around the rink a lot. Even if they don’t know his name, they say the dude from Jurassic Park”

Janssen: “Really? See! I’m not lying”

Sheeran Gritty
If Janny looks like Sheeran and Sheeran looks like Gritty, then…. ?!

BONUS QUESTION: What’s your favourite dinosaur? Well, the Tyrannosaurus rex! Duh! Who doesn’t like that?!

Who’s the messiest in the changing room? Well, I just have to go with my stallmate – He always puts his stuff on my stall.

Ritt: “That’s funny, I said the same about you!”

Janssen: “I’ve always gotta move everything back over to his so I can open my stuff. It’s super annoying. I don’t ever say anything, I try to be a good guy about it”

Most memorable hockey moment to date? Winning the national championship in college

Your most embarrassing moment? Well I got beat by a girl tonight in bowling. That was a pretty hard hit to the ego

Mike: “And so did you”

Ritt: “Yeah, I got beat by several”

Favourite dressing room prank? I like to fill up a stick with water, then put the plug back in it

And for the final question from the bowling night – Turn up your volume because you need to hear this big reveal from the man himself!


And that was that!

A big thanks to Janny and Ritt, plus all the Flames players who have taken time to speak to CTP this year.

And thank you all for reading. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the series so far and with a bit of luck, we’ll be back next year with more from the team!

On behalf of all of us at Chasing The Puck, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and look forward to seeing you at a game soon.

Behind The Bench – Calle Ackered

With Christmas just around the corner, we here at Chasing The Puck are giving Flames fans the gift of THREE #BTB interviews all before Christmas! (And yes, I did just come up with my own jazzy hashtag!) Oh, and an update from last week’s interview – Baldwin hasn’t hunted me down so I’m guessing I must be in the clear!

Continuing on from last week, the bowling evening was drawing to a close and many players had sneaked out. Luckily, three players still remained – Only issue was they were all being mobbed.

One of these players was ready to go with his coat on, but he’s just far too nice to walk away from the fans who wanted selfies or a quick chat. And I’ll admit – I used this to my advantage, BUT… I did it for all of you!! As he went to walk by I asked if he could spare 2 minutes for an interview and without a second thought he immediately agreed and came to sit down.

Calle Ackered is a man of the people and it is no surprise whatsoever that he is adored by the Flames fans.

Calle Ackered Guildford Flames Interview
Once again my tag-along photographer took this picture. I did consider using her selfie she took with Calle, but it’s got those silly Snapchat filters on and I would hate to lower the tone of these articles and come across as unprofessional…

Name? Calle Ackered

Age? 27 years old

Position? I’m a D man

NHL team? New York Rangers

Hockey hero? Big hockey hero is probably Nick Lidström

Favourite UK rink (apart from the Spectrum!)? Spectrum definitely and Belfast

Hidden talent/hockey party trick? Ooooh…. I’m very good at beer pong

Superstitions? I start with my left side all the time, pads, skates and everything. I don’t know if it’s really a superstition but I always do it

Favourite actor? Leonardo DiCaprio

Who is the dressing room prankster? Oooo… I don’t know if we have a prankster but a guy who talks a lot is John Dunbar and also TJ Foster is pretty funny. He’s not a prankster but he talks so much, he’s chirping guys

Favourite band? Coldplay

Who’s the messiest in the changing room? *Long pause* CC (Chris Carrozzi)

Most memorable hockey moment to date? When I did my debut in the Swedish national junior team. That was pretty cool

Your most embarrassing moment? I forgot my skate guards were on when I was younger and fell down like Bambi during the intro!

Favourite dressing room prank? Loosening the water bottle lid

What would you do if you didn’t play hockey? I would probably be an actor… No, just kidding! I don’t know. I would love to be an actor though!


Thanks Calle!

So now 2 remain…

Behind The Bench – Eric Lindhagen

Hello hockey fans and welcome back Behind the Bench! Continuing on from last week, we are currently on player interview number 3 of 7 from the Flames bowling night. The night started off with a chat with Kevin King (accompanied by Mike Will), followed by Jez Lundin, and following a break in proceedings to actually bowl… And grab another pint during the end of game raffle, it was time to once again find some players in amongst the crowd!

Continue reading Behind The Bench – Eric Lindhagen

The Next Generation: CTP’s November Top 31 for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft

November was an interesting month for the crop of 2019 NHL draft prospects. We saw some climb up the rankings and into our hearts (see: Philip Broberg), and others drop out of the radar entirely as first round potential picks (see: Maxim Cajkovic). To see exactly where these kids ranked last month, you can find our October draft rankings in two parts here, top 15 and bottom 16.

Again, the omnipresent and ambiguous ‘we’ is Ellie Green, and CTP’s capitalcorrespondent. We’re late this month, because November has one less day than we thought it did. Sit down, buckle in and get ready to read about the draft prospects we project to go in the first round.

Continue reading The Next Generation: CTP’s November Top 31 for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft

Behind The Bench – Jez Lundin

Following on from the shocking revelation that Kevin King is a country music fan who loves the Dundee Ice Arena and the crushing disappointment of being let down by Mike Will – Once again we are Behind the Bench! (Well, the Flames ‘meet the players’ bowling night but I’d look silly changing the article name this far in…)

Continue reading Behind The Bench – Jez Lundin

Behind The Bench – Kevin King

It’s been a while since we spoke to Josh Waller as part of the Behind the Bench series, but thanks to the Flames supporters club and their annual bowling night, more unsuspecting players have been roped into talking to Chasing the Puck! So – Over the next few weeks: Find out who can’t handle their drink, who could bowl professionally, who is the secret country music fan and who once nearly got busted by team management because he got caught on camera ‘special’ dancing!

Continue reading Behind The Bench – Kevin King