What Numbers Can’t Be Worn on NHL Jerseys?

Which numbers aren’t allowed on an NHL jersey? In the NHL, players can’t wear jersey numbers 0 and 00. They put this rule in place to avoid confusion for officials and fans since hockey jersey numbers usually go from 1 to 98. So, players must pick a number within that range for their jerseys.

But the number game isn’t as simple as it looks, you know? Players can’t wear the number 99 because it’s retired for the hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

You know, in sports, there’s this one area that often goes unnoticed by fans, but it holds a lot of significance in the game’s rule books. I’m talking about the team jerseys and uniform numbers, especially in the NHL.

Believe it or not, there are rules and guidelines for them! These guidelines ensure uniformity, pay respect to the legends, and even add a touch of aesthetics.

So, check out this guide if you want to become an expert in NHL jersey numbers!

Uniform Consistency is Key

Let’s dive into a few rules from the NHL rule book. Rule 9 is all about numbers, and here’s what it says:  all players on the same team have to wear the same uniforms. No exceptions.

If anyone decides to go rogue and wear a different jersey, they’ll be benched. It’s all about keeping the team together and easy to recognize, you know?

Here’s the exciting part: the NHL requires that a team’s home and away jerseys look different. But get this: the players can wear the same pants no matter where or when they’re playing. Pretty cool, huh?

The Mysteries of NHL Jersey Numbers

In the NHL, each player on a team has to wear a unique number, with their last name proudly displayed above it. This little personal touch makes it easy for fans and officials to identify the players on the ice.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. You see, in the NHL, three numbers have been rendered off-limits.

The first one is the illustrious number 99, which has been retired league-wide to honor the legendary Wayne Gretzky, also known as “The Great One.”

Now, the other two prohibited numbers are variations of the same: 0 and 00.

Surprisingly, two players, Marty Biron in 1996 and John Davidson in 1977, managed to defy the prohibition and don the number 00.

Now, there’s a lot of speculation about why these numbers are banned, ranging from database limitations to the NHL just wanting a neater look.

Why players choose certain numbers?

Jerseys Numbers in NHL

Players in the NHL are known for being unique both on and off the ice, you know? When picking a jersey number, many players go for something meaningful to them personally. John Tavares nicknamed ‘JT’ wears 91, and there’s an interesting story behind it.

Some might choose their birth year or the number of siblings they have, while others pick a number to honor a beloved family member or mentor.

And some players?

Well, they choose a number that looks good on their jersey, you know, visually pleasing. But regardless of the reason, a player’s jersey number becomes a part of their brand in the league, you know?

It’s more than just a number on a uniform. It carries some weight, you know?

Player-Customized Jerseys

You know what’s interesting? NHL players can customize their jerseys to some extent if they get the league’s approval.

So, if you see a player wearing a jersey that looks a bit different, don’t worry! The league is aware of it and has nodded to the modification. It shows how the NHL is cool with accommodating player preferences while maintaining the game’s integrity.

Goalies: A Different Set of Rules

Goalies, the last line of defense on the ice, have their own sets of jersey rules. They have to ensure their jerseys are secured to avoid any fabric bunching up in the armpit area that could mess with their moves or cause unintended mishaps.

Oh, and you’ll never catch a goalie rockin’ a captain’s ‘C’ or an alternate captain’s ‘A’ on their jersey.

The NHL wants them to focus solely on their crucial role between the pipes without worrying about the leadership and decision-making duties that come with those designations for skaters.

The Most Common Jersey Number in the NHL

The number 21 is the most common NHL number of all time, worn by 469 NHL players throughout the league’s history. And you know what? The most common numbers are 22, 20, 18, 15, and 23. Pretty interesting, right?

The Least Worn Number in the NHL

Jersey NumberNumber of Players Who Wore ItNotable PlayersNotes
002Martin Biron, John Davidson
01Neil Sheehy      Worn only once in 1988.
665Mario Lemieux, Yanick Dupre, Milan Novy, Gino Odjick, T.J. Brodie      Mario Lemieux is synonymous with this number.
707Kevin Sawyer, Braden Holtby, David Steckel, Greg Stewart, Tim Thomas, Oleg Tverdovsky, Jeremy YablonskiFirst worn in 2000.
794Alexei Yashin, Andrei Markov, Adam Cracknell, Vladimir VujtekAlexei Yashin and Andrei Markov are notable.
824Martin Straka, Marian Gaborik, Donald Audette, Tomas Kopecky         Notable players like Straka and Gaborik.
843Guillaume Latendresse, Corey Locke, Mikhail GrabovskiFirst worn in 2007.
853Petr Klima, Liam Reddox, Mathieu Perreault, Rostislav OleszPrior to 2006, only Petr Klima wore it.
863Jonathon Ferland, Wojtek Wolski, Jeremy Williams   First worn in 2006.
873Sidney Crosby, Pierre Turgeon, Donald Brashear         Sidney Crosby is the most identifiable.
981Brian Lawton   Worn for two seasons in the mid-80s.
993Wayne Gretzky, Wilf Paiement, Rick Dudley      Wayne Gretzky’s number is retired league-wide.


Who wore number 88 in hockey?

Notable hockey players like Eric Lindros and Patrick Kane, considered all-time greats, wore number 88. Others, like Pastrnak, Nylander, Burns, Schmidt, and Vasilevskiy, also sported it.

Why is 91 a popular hockey number?

Number 91 is popular in hockey because players like Sergei Fedorov and Steven Stamkos excelled while wearing it. 

Is 13 a good hockey number?

While 13 is considered unlucky by some, it’s still used in the NHL by players like Mats Sundin, Pavel Datsyuk, and Johnny Gaudreau. 

Can NHL players wear 69?

NHL players can wear 69, but it’s rarely chosen due to its suggestive nature. 

Is 99 banned in the NHL?

Number 99 is banned league-wide in the NHL as a tribute to Wayne Gretzky, who is widely regarded as the greatest hockey player ever. 

I hope you’ve learned something cool about why we can’t wear certain jerseys and all that jazz. So, the next time you catch an NHL game, take a second to appreciate the stories behind those iconic jerseys.

That’s all from my side. Stay connected with our blog for more exciting articles!

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