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Goalie number history


Tom Reing

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I'm asking this here because it is uniform related.

Someone told me the tradition of hockey goalies using the number 1 or 35 comes from when teams traveled by train and the goalie's equipment took up an extra seat so he sat at either end of a train car for easy exit. Their seat number was 1 or in the hig 30's so the number stuck.

In some ways it makes sense, but I was wondering if it is true?

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the story I heard was similar: the guys with the lowest numbers had first choice of which bunk of the bed they wanted to sleep in. what with the goalies usually being tired as hell, they of course aint gonna want a high bunk, so they got #1 and thus first pick.

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I heard it was because in the old days numbers were assigned right down the list of players on the team. So if you were seventh from the top, you got number 7. Goalies were always listed at either the top or bottom of the list, so they were always either 1 or 30-35.

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the story I heard was similar: the guys with the lowest numbers had first choice of which bunk of the bed they wanted to sleep in. what with the goalies usually being tired as hell, they of course aint gonna want a high bunk, so they got #1 and thus first pick.

I'm with you on this one. Often, the goalies were No. 1 and No. 2 which meant they got on the ice first and got into the sleeper cars first.

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i saw a documentary that talked about gordie howe, and how he chose #9.

he didn't like 9. he always wore 17 (if i'm not mistaken. my memory may be wrong on his prefered number)

the trainers approached him, and offer him #9, and he said no thanks... but then they reminded him of the bunk situation, and that the lower number he had, the better off he'd be... so he immediately jumped at #9.

which brings up a very interesting point... what number would wayne gretzky have worn if gordie hadn't been too lazy to get a higher bunk?

and would wayne's new number be retired leaguewide? was there a 17 on the team when wayne doubled the 9?

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i saw a documentary that talked about gordie howe, and how he chose #9.

he didn't like 9. he always wore 17 (if i'm not mistaken. my memory may be wrong on his prefered number)

the trainers approached him, and offer him #9, and he said no thanks... but then they reminded him of the bunk situation, and that the lower number he had, the better off he'd be... so he immediately jumped at #9.

which brings up a very interesting point... what number would wayne gretzky have worn if gordie hadn't been too lazy to get a higher bunk?

and would wayne's new number be retired leaguewide? was there a 17 on the team when wayne doubled the 9?

Yep. The #1717 would be retired league wide! :D Okay that was stupid, but one moron had to say it! :D

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I like it when goalies use non-traditional numbers. Puppa had a good idea.

For a while, both Ken Dryden & Mike Palmateer used #29.....so that was a bit of a school-yard trend for us guys growing up in the late '70's.

I like Ron Hextall wearing #27.....again, because it's out-of-the-box.

Belfour had a connection with Tretiak, as Vlad was his goalies-coach in Chicago. That's why Eddie wears #20, in tribute.

I'd like to see a goalie wear #32, or #37 (Steve Penney already did that). Maybe something in the 40's or even a #25.

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Okay, hockey fans. There was a backup goalie for the Habs in the 90s, maybe even the late 80s, who actually wore #8. I don't think he was anything special, or had more than a cup of coffee or two with Montreal....anyone remember who this was?

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