Sure, hockey is often about the numbers – goals, wins, assists, penalty minutes, too many men, ice time, and the list goes on and on. Sports - especially hockey - are the glory of statisticians and trivia masters everywhere. Remember Moneyball? Okay, so that was baseball, but they literally made a full feature film about the numbers in sports! Why are we rambling about this? Well, considering the obsession we have around sports and numbers, it’s no surprise that when Josh Ho-Sang hit the ice in his first NHL game with the New York Islanders, the chatter wasn’t about his performance or promise, it was about his number. Specifically the number on his jersey, 66.
Mario Lemieux is a hockey legend and you’d be hard-pressed to find a pickup or shinny game anywhere in North America where someone wasn’t donning the number 66 in his honour. The number hasn’t been retired in the NHL and others have worn the same digits between Lemieux and Ho-Sang’s time, but I guess it was a slow news day for the NHL and the love of numbers and controversy took over. In any case, for recreational hockey players, especially those that have bounced around or spared on a few teams over the years, we all know that if it REALLY became an issue, a little duct tape can turn that 66 into an 86, 88, 68 or 666 (we all have THAT player on the team) in no time at all.
Good luck to Ho-Sang, it’s a hell of an accomplishment to make it to the NHL and hopefully people start talking about your performance and stats instead of your jersey number, soon enough.
Do you have a particular way you manage jersey numbers on your team? Any tales of team drama when two or more players shared a favourite number? We’d love to hear them, visit us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know!