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 10. Keep up to date with the series everyday until the start of the 2023-24 NHL season.
Behind the Sweater Number: 10
The 10 Spot
According to Hockey Reference, 391 players have worn sweater number 10 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 all of the Original Six with at least one player in that number. Hall of Famer Ted Kennedy had 18 goals for the Toronto Maple Leafs in that season. There were four players that are enshrined in Toronto that wore the number that seaons.
As we draw closer to the end of the countdown, we’ll focus more the big-name players that wore the number. We’ll also give more attention to the players that briefly wore sweater number 10. This series will also take a look at the future of the number and who may carry the digits.
There are always a number of players that wore sweater number 10 that would go onto have decent to good careers. However, these were with other numbers. Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson had the number for a season with the Leafs. Peter Bondra had the number for a season with the Ottawa Senators. Neal Broten had the number with the Los Angeles Kings.
Frank Mahovilich wore the numeral for the Montreal Canadiens. Rick Martin wore 10 with the Kings at the end of his career. Petr Nedved wore the sweater for the New York Rangers. Habs Hall of Famer Didier Pitre had the number in 1922-23 season. Hall of Fame builder Glenn Sather wore the number.
Guy LaFleur is the man that many people pick as the top player to wear sweater number 10. LaFleur was part of the best draft class in team history in 1971. He was part of five Stanley Cup champions as the Canadiens dominated the decade. The Thurso, Quebec native earned hree Art Ross Trophies, three Lester B. Pearson Trophies, two Hart Trophies, and a Conn Smythe Trophy during his time with the Canadiens.
There was a story where Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau asked LaFleur to take his trademark number four. However, Beliveau had second thoughts and told LaFleir to be the first Guy LaFleur. The Turbo de Thurso finally got to 50 goals in the 1974-75 season. He’d end up with 560 career goals and 793 assists.
Other 10s and the Future
Pavel Bure, George Armstrong and Ron Francis are among three players that wore sweater number 10 very well. Bure’s speed made him an amazing player. Armstrong is beloved by Leafs fans and Francis made impressions with the Penguins and Hurricanes organizations. Alex Delvecchio had the number with the Red Wings. Dale Hawerchuk had a storied career with many clubs as did Esa Tikkanen. Tom Johnson had a Hall of Fame career in Montreal and Boston. Corey Perry has worn the number for a long time as well.
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