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Behind the Sweater Number: No. 39

Dominik Hasek; sweater number 39

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 39. Keep up to date with the series everyday until the start of the 2023-24 NHL season.

Behind the Sweater Number: 39

The First 39s

According to Hockey Reference, 216 players have worn sweater number 40 since since jersey records were kept in the 1950-51 season. Hockey Reference lists Robbie Moore of the Philadelphia Flyers as the first player to don the digits. Moore had the number for five games in the 1978-79 season when larger numbers started becoming a thing. He would float around the minors until a one appearance with the Washington Capitals in the 1982-93. Moore also kept the number 39 for that single game with the Caps.

Ron Zanussi of the Toronto Maple Leafs would be the next player to try on the number in the 1980-81 season. Zanussi had the number for 12 games with the Leafs. Tom Younghans carried the number in the 1981-82 season with the New York Rangers in the final 47 games of his career.


There are always a number of players that wore sweater number 39 that would go onto have decent to good careers. However, these were with other numbers. Former Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin had the for 58 games with the New York Islanders in the 1988-89 season. Hall of Famer Clark Gillies finished his career with the Buffalo Sabres as number 39 after he was nine for the Isles for a number of years. Fellow Hall of Famer Doug Gilmour was 39 with the Calgary Flames before switching over to 93 for the rest of his career.

Tony Granato started off his career with the Blueshirts as 39 before moving onto other numbers. Current Rangers coach Peter Laviolette was 39 in his 12-game career in the 1988-89 season. Yanic Perreault had the number in the 1994-95 season with the Los Angeles Kings. David Perron wore sweater number 39 with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2014-15 season. Cam Talbot was 39 in his tenure with Calgary and Jason Spezza was 39 with the Ottawa Senators before moving to 19.

The Dominator

Many experts agree that the most famous player to wear sweater number 39 is Dominik Hasek. The Czech goalie started his career with the Chicago Blackhawks, but he was number 34 and 31 before he found his trademark number. Hasek found a home with the Sabres and took off in Western New York. He was an unconventional goalie that would make acrobatic saves that would wow the crowd.

Hasek would eventually earn the nickname of “The Dominator” and win the Vezina Trophy six times. He also won the Hart Trophy in 1996-97 and 1997-98, but the Stanley Cup would elude him in Buffalo. However, he would finally get his two championship rings with the Detroit Red Wings. Hasek would eventually reach the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014 and cement himself as one of the best goalies in the last 20 years. He took 39 because he wore nine in Czechoslovakia, but goalies couldn’t be single digits other than one. Hasek picked 39 because Bob Corkum already had 29.

Other 39s and the Future

Logan Couture has been one of the best modern 39s in the league and he’s played nearly 1,000 games with the San Jose Sharks. Doug Weight spent most of his career as 39, but also bounced around to 42 and 93 in his career. Brian Skrudland was a reliable forward with Montreal and Calgary for a number of seasons. Travis Green played 970 games and pocketed 193 goals in his lengthy career. Nikolai Khabibulin was 39 for most of his career with the Blackhawks.

Sweater number 39 holds a lot of meaning to goalies all over the world. Hasek is now a politician in his native country and a hero. There will also be people that love the Dominator for his illustrious career.

Main photo by: Graig Abel/Getty Images


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