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Behind the Sweater Number: No. 30

Martin Brodeur; sweater number 30

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

Behind the Sweater Number: 30

The First 30s

According to Hockey Reference, 273 players have worn sweater number 30 since since jersey records were kept in the 1950-51 season. However, it does not list any players before then that may have taken the number. Hockey Reference lists Jack Evans of the New York Rangers as the first to don the digits in the 1953-54 campaign. Evans started his career with three, but eventually shifted to five with the Blueshirts.

Claude Evans (no relation) would be the next player to take on sweater number 30. This Evans did so for the Montreal Canadiens in the 1954-55 campaign. Gerry McNeil would wrap up his career with the Habs in that number in the 1956-57 season. Claude Pronovost would play two games with the Canadiens in 1958-59 with number 30.


There are always a number of players that wore sweater number 30 that would go onto have decent to good careers. However, these were with other numbers. Miracle on Ice gold medal winning goalie Jim Craig had 30 after starting off with one for the Atlanta Flames. The late Ray Emery had sweater number 30 with the Chicago Blackhawks. Connor Hellebuyck started his Winnipeg Jets career in the 30 sweater before going to 37.

Defenceman Grant Ledyard played 1,028 career games and had two seasons in 30 with the Rangers. Kirk McLean ended his career on Broadway with the number 30. Hall of Famer Jacques Plante had 30 with the St. Louis Blues. Gump Worsley wore 30 for a few different seasons.


In a number dominated by goalies, Martin Brodeur stands tallest among the best. The New Jersey Devils goalie had a great rookie campaign in 1993-94 and won the Calder Trophy. However, the Montreal native was just getting warmed up. Brodeur would backstop the Devils to three Stanley Cups and win four Vezina Trophies. He was the linchpin of New Jersey’s highly-defensive system, but would have shown anywhere.

Brodeur is the all-time leader in wins, shutouts, saves and games played by a goaltender. Plenty of others have taken the number, but no one can top the resume that Brodeur has racked up for himself. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018. Brodeur took sweater number 30 because then general manager Lou Lamoriello assigned it to him.

Other Great 30s and the Future

Plenty of other goalies have been great in number 30. Henrik Lundqvist endeared himself to the Rangers faithful with his great play in between the pipes. Lundqvist managed just one Vezina, but was in an era with Carey Price among others. Hall of Famers Ed Belfour, Gerry Cheevers and Rogie Vachon also made successful careers wearing number 30. Tom Barasso will be going into the Hall of Fame this year after a stretch of wearing 30.

Other goalies like Chris Osgood and Ryan Miller also carved out lengthy careers as great goalies. Sweater number 30 seems to be one of the best numbers for any goalie to wear. Players like Brodeur, Lundqvist and others have made the number theirs and inspired a generation of goalies. There are plenty of aspiring netminders that want to don the number 30 in homage to both players.

Main photo by: by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


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