Few things in professional sports have as much grandeur as an iconic jersey number.
In National Hockey League circles, the number 99 is instantly recognizable as belonging to a legendary player. Same for 66 and 87.
On the other hand, 9, 19 and 91 are apparently equally prestigious because they had so much amazing players wear them. And with more and more numbers being retired in the NHL, players increasingly have to turn to different numbers to stand out from the crowd.
All of this begs the question: what about number 0? It’s a common pick of NBA All-Stars, including Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and Jayson Tatum. MLB players wear it regularly.
Even its variant number, #00, is commonly worn in both the NBA and MLB. And just this week the NFL changed its rules to allow players to wear number 0 – with Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley announcing shortly after that he would move on to the number.
The NHL once allowed players to wear numbers 0 and 00, but no one has worn either since Marty Biron adapted for the Buffalo Sabers in 1995-96 with the double zero on the back. The league subsequently banned the practice the following season.
But if players from other leagues can wear 0, why not NHL stars? Mike McKenna and Frank Seravalli discussed the topic on Thursday’s episode of Daily face-to-face live.
Frank Seravalli: After seeing the NFL change its tune earlier this week, what would you think of the NHL allowing players to wear number 0 on jerseys?
Mike McKenna: I would love it. I mean, it’s a number! We do not care? I see him racing all the time. I go to the local dirt road, you have #007 there or 01 or 05. You know what, I think that would be cool. I know the reason [they outlawed it] did it confuse the NHL’s numeric database years ago in 1996-97, after Marty Biron was the last to wear it. I don’t know, I wouldn’t mind a bit. He has the history of the league before. What do you think?
Seravalli: Yes, there has to be a way to do that now with technology to make sure that doesn’t happen. I’m all for 00. I think 0 in the singular is weird, but why not 00?
McKenna: Yeah, John Davidson wore it all 1977-78 season. And then Phil Esposito told him to change it.
You can watch the full episode here…