What Hockey Jersey Number Should You Be? (Plus, What Numbers Should You Avoid!)

So, (attempting my best Jerry Seinfeld voice), “What’s the deal, with jersey numbers?” Specifically, I’ll be talking about hockey jersey numbering. Whichever hockey league in the world you play in, deep down, you’re still a hockey player.

What’s the one thing we all know about hockey players? Yup, you guessed it. We’re a superstitious lot. We don’t just wear numbers on our jerseys to look cool. Although, as we’ll discuss later, to some controversy I’m sure, some numbers are definitely cooler than others.

Let’s dig in to why your number matters, what makes a number cool, or “rad” as the kids are saying these days, and the ultimate question, “What’s the deal, with jersey numbers?”

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What Hockey Jersey Number Should You Be? (Plus, What Numbers Should You Avoid!)

How do hockey players choose their jersey number?

Now this gets interesting! Some of these methods for choosing your jersey number I knew. Others I researched. Yet others, I completely made up. Choose wisely…or not. It’s totally up to you.

First, keep in mind which numbers you can actually choose from. I’m not sure about other sports, but in the NHL you’re able to pick from these single and double digit numbers.

Any number between 1 and 98 are allowed.

However, take heed young prospect, there are certain taboo numbers that you should avoid. We’ll get into that later.

Think of your favorite superstar

One of the most common ways that players choose a good hockey number is by taking the number of their favorite superstar. Put that thinking cap on and take a tour through hockey history. Who were the greats?

Think along the lines of Steve Yzerman, Patrick Roy, John Tavares, Joe Sakic, Bobby Orr or any other star players you can think of.

Well, not any other star player. Wayne Gretzky’s #99 for example, is strictly off limits. Again, we’ll get into the twisted web of illicit, taboo and just down right naughty number picks later. Stay tuned!

Choose your birth year

Another popular method for picking a jersey number is to use your birth year. Think Sydney Crosby #87 or Connor McDavid #97. Sid the Kid was born in 1987, while McDavid was 1997.

You could also use the birth year or birthdate of a cherished relative like your dear old mom or dad.

Remember all the money they put into your burgeoning young hockey career? Not to mention the 5am wake ups and long, dark, cold winter drives on icy highways.

Famous family member?

Maybe you’re descended from hockey royalty and have a famous family member. In that case, you might want to take after a relative.

Did gramps play in the bigs?

Maybe your older sister made the national team?

They didn’t even have to play hockey. Any sport will do. Heck, you could use their employee number as long as it’s between 1 and 98.

Everyone has a lucky number, right?

13, 7, 11, 3. Well, for most of us maybe not 13.

Fun fact; The number 13 is actually considered a lucky number in some cultures.

In Chinese culture, the number 13 represents “definitely vibrant” or “assured growth.” In numerology the number 13 is said to bring good luck and prosperity.

Hit the ice with the knowledge that the hockey gods are on your side.

what hockey jersey number should you be?
By Ethen

Let a friend or foe choose

How about you just avoid the unnecessary stress and pressure of choosing a hockey number altogether? Let a friend choose those digits for you!

Feeling adventurous? Let an enemy choose your number.

This has an added benefit. If you end up sucking, you can always blame them for choosing a cursed number.

What Hockey Jersey Number Should You Be?

Lastly, use a random number generator

Here’s another way to shirk responsibility. Use a random number generator.

Or, in case you live under a rock and don’t have access to a cell phone or computer, try this. Write some numbers down on tiny pieces of paper and randomly draw one out of a hat.

You can now safely wipe your hands clean of any and all responsibility.

What number should you be?

What Hockey Jersey Number Should You Be? man thinking about it

Whether you’re playing in a beer league, initiation Tier 7, or even up in the show, you’re gonna want a cool number.

What “cool” means to you is going to be different than what it means to someone else.

For example; I think it’s cool to hike my socks all the way up, even while wearing shorts. My wife, not so much… She’s wrong of course. It’s comfy and it makes you feel safe and secure.

Keep in mind, your hockey number isn’t written in stone.

Most likely, it’ll change a few times during your hockey career. You may start out with 97 but then realize that 87 is the far superior choice…

Big league game coming up? Beer league game?

NHL team just called you up to hit the ice?

Minor leagues, big leagues, Japanese, look at these. It doesn’t really matter.

Wear that number loud and proud, and just remember.

Always fire a few slappers at the opposing goalie’s head just to mess with him. It’ll pay off in the late game. Trust me, I’m a writer.

D-5 Men Mighty Ducks Jersey #33 Goldberg #66 Bombay #96 Conway #99 Banks Jersey,Movie Ice Hockey Jersey for Men S-XXXL (#99-Green, Large)

Cleaning your hockey jersey

Now that you’ve picked the perfect number, don’t forget you’ll need to keep that jersey clean! See our article for tips, How To Wash a Jersey: Tips From a Sports Fanatic.

Most and least popular jersey numbers in hockey

I thought I’d include the most and least popular jersey numbers, mainly, because I was curious myself.

The problem is, it’s not that easy.

The most and least popular digits change from year to year.

Also, finding any credible evidence, aside from going through each and every NHL player and compiling a massive, unwieldy list sounds absolutely horrendous to me.

So here’s what I have for you fine folks instead. Some anecdotes and unverified info that I’ve complied from friends. I’ve also used the google machine and scoured the interweb for you.

Numbers 20, 21, 22 and 25 are very popular.

Personally, my fav number has always been 22, so I get it. Not sure why NHL players like to wear numbers in the 20’s so much.

If anyone has a far out theory, please let me know in the comments.

How about the least popular numbers in the NHL?

Well, again, we see a bit of a pattern. Numbers 95, 96, 97 and 98 are very unpopular. High numbers bad, higher numbers worse, highest numbers, don’t even think about it.

I’d love to hear everyone’s fav numbers down in the comments.

What numbers are you folks wearing?

Banned, taboo and other numbers NOT to wear!

Don’t do it! You might have the bright idea that picking a number like 69 for your jersey is hilarious. I get it. It’s kind of funny.

But please, just don’t!

Think of the children! Why won’t anyone think of the children!

Seriously though, there are certain numbers you should really avoid. Some, because they’re simply not allowed. Others, because they’re taboo and will not only annoy your own team, but opposing players as well.

If you really want to put a target on your back, then pick a number like 66 or 69. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

The Great One and the infamous #99

After The Great One retired back in 1999, the NHL decided to honor him by retiring his number.

You cannot wear this number even if you wanted to.

Although, I think it would be hilarious if some goalie decided to hit the ice with the legendary 99 stitched on.

Show some respect and follow these unwritten rules of the hockey world.

What Hockey Jersey Number Should You Be?
By erik forsberg

Goalies and their numbers

So you’re a goalie? What number should you wear?

Goalies; Those silly, superstitious, lovable scamps that can steal a game for you in one instance and have you smashing your stick against the ice in another. Just kidding. We all love you guys.

Honestly, a good goalie can make or break a team!

Back in the old days, and when I say old days I mean back in the “original 6” days, most goalies wore number 1. Sometime during the 70’s they starting venturing out of their comfort zones and began using higher numbers.

This must have been excruciating for goalies as we all know how set in their ways these folks can be.

Now a days, while not mandated, numbers in the dirty 30’s seem to be quite popular. Most likely since low 30’s were very common for goalies in the 80’s and 90’s, and these guys would have been the idols of our current NHL roster of tenders.

No discussion on NHL goalie numbers can be considered complete without mentioning the infamous John Davidson.

During the 1977-1978 season while playing for the New York Rangers, Big Bad John thought to himself, and now for something completely different. Anyone? Anyone get that reference? I bet no one expected it…

Being the superstitious goalie that he was, John figured he’d change his jersey number to “00”. Why 00 you ask?

Shut out baby! I love it.

In my opinion, it was an awesome choice, and to be honest, I’m surprised another tender hadn’t thought of it before.

Unfortunately, Big John’s experiment would get the kybosh shortly after. Those poor sports at the NHL headquarters would outlaw the numbers 0 and 00. Still, kudos to John.

what hockey jersey number should  you be?

Famous NHL hockey players and their numbers

Throughout NHL history these are the guys who wore the numbers.

I’ve picked, in my opinion, the best, or in some cases most famous player, who wore each number. I know I’ve skipped some numbers and left off some top rate talent. Let me know how bad I screwed up in the comments.

For another list of all-time NHL greats, see our article, What Do the A and C Mean On a Hockey Jersey?

Who did I leave off, or who shouldn’t be on here?

#1 Johnny Bower

#4 Bobby Orr

#8 Alex Ovechkin

#9 Gordie Howe and Maurice Richard

#10 Guy Lafleur

#11 Mark Messier

#16 Brett Hull

#19 Steve Yzerman

couple wearing jersey number 68 for Jagr

#22 Mike Bossy

#27 Scott Niedermayer

#29 Nathan MacKinnon

#30 Martin Brodeur

#33 Patrick Roy

#35 Tony Esposito

#39 Dominik Hasek

#44 Chris Pronger

#53 Jeff Skinner

#58 Kris Letang

#61 Rick Nash

#66 Mario Lemieux

#68 Jaromir Jagr

#71 Evgeni Malkin

#77 Ray Bourque and Paul Coffee

By Michael Miller

#87 Sidney Crosby

#88 Patrick Kane

#91 Sergei Fedorov

#93 Doug Gilmour

#94 Ryan Smyth

#95 Matt Duchene

#97 Jeremy Roenick… just kidding Connor McDavid

#99 Wayne Gretzky

Parting thoughts and feelings

Whatever your number choice may be. Always wear and display proudly.

Wear it then and wear it now. Could you be the next Gord Howe?

Famous number, common number, special number, lucky number.

Birthday number, draft day number, hero’s number, yucky number.

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