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Behind the Sweater Number: No. 41

jason allison career; sweater number 41

Sweater numbers are synonymous with players. Most hockey fans can instantly tell you a great player by the number they wear on their back. There are many different stories about how players became associated with the famous numbers. Many odd and interesting facts surround these numbers as well. As we count down the start of the 2023-24 NHL season, we take a look at the story behind the numbers. Today we continue with sweater number 41. Keep up to date with the series everyday until the start of the 2023-24 NHL season.

Behind the Sweater Number: 41

The First 41s

According to Hockey Reference, 168 players have worn sweater number 41 since jersey records were kept in the 1950-51 season. Hockey Reference lists Eddie Mio as the first player to don the digits in the 1981-82 season with the New York Rangers. Mio would keep the number for the rest of his career with the Blueshirts and the Detroit Red Wings. The Windsor, Ontario native finished his career in the 1985-86 season.

The next player to take on sweater number 41 was Steve Richmond, who took over the sweater for Mio with the Rangers. Richmond would ironically join Mio on the Red Wings in the 1985-86 season. Three other players would next wear the number in the 1986-87 season. Those players were Allen Pedersen, Mike Siltala and John Stevens. Pedersen would play in 79 games and score one goal.

Cameos

There are always a number of players that wore sweater number 41 that would go onto have decent to good careers. However, these were with other numbers. Tyson Barrie started off his career as a 41 before switching over to four. Goalie Sean Burke had 41 had the number in his second stint with the Philadelphia Flyers after being 33 the first time. Valtteri Filppula started life as a 41 with the Red Wings, but he would move over to 51.

Jeff Friesen was 41 for a season with the Washington Capitals after starting off as a 12. Victor Olofsson started his career with 41 on the Buffalo Sabres and has shifted his number a couple of times since then. Alexander Wennberg was 41 with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but eventually settled on 21.

Jason Allison

One of the most well-known 41s is Jason Allison, who broke into the league in the 1993-94 season. The North York, Ontario native broke into the league as an 18-year-old with the Washington Capitals. However, he would have his best seasons with the Boston Bruins. Allison would have a pair of 30-goal seasons with the club in 1997-98 and in 2000-01.

Injuries and the lockout would hamper the playmaker’s career, who had a great hockey sense about him. He may not have had a lot of speed, but he was a very good hockey player. Allison was a fan favourite with the Bruins and played 552 games with 154 goals.

Other 41s and the Future

There have been plenty of other good 41s in the NHL with goalies mostly donning sweater number 41. Jaroslav Halak is still active, but still trying to find a team at this point. Mike Smith had some good moments in his career. The recently retired Craig Anderson was an ageless wonder with the number of teams he played with. Anderson also overcame plenty of adversity in his career. Jocelyn Thibault also recorded 238 career victories in net.

Stu Barnes was a cult figure with the Sabres during their strong play in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Brent Gilchrist nearly played 800 games and all of them in the number 41. Paul Byron has been a strong player with the Montreal Canadiens.

There are players like Shayne Gostisbehere will wear 41 for the Red Wings this season. Sweater number 41 has got a good history, but a really good player can make it their own.

Main photo by: B. Bennett/Getty Images

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