The Friday Five: Here's My Number
Choosing a number is like choosing a car. As soon as you find one you like, you see another one that looks even more awesome. Here's a look at some of the most interesting and notable number changes in Blackhawks history.
1. Tony Esposito was the first NHL goaltender and the only Blackhawk to wear No. 35.
After the Blackhawks claimed Tony O from Montreal in the 1969 Intra-League Draft, the team ruled out his previous numbers with the Canadiens (1, 29) and instead assigned the goaltender No. 35 for training camp, as common netminder numbers 1 and 30 were already taken. Esposito stuck with the number throughout his Hall-of-Fame career. The Blackhawks retired No, 35 on Nov. 20, 1988, four years after his retirement, making Esposito the only Blackhawk to ever wear the number.
2. Steve Dubinsky wore six different numbers in Chicago, the most of any Blackhawks player in franchise history.
Over 237 games in seven seasons (1993-99, 2000-02) with the Blackhawks, Dubinsky wore numbers 42, 29, 32, 22, 14, and 16. That’s about a 40 game-per-number average. If you think that’s excessive, consider Kent Paynter, who wore three different numbers over the course of three games in Chicago.
3. Pierre Pilote wore three numbers during his tenure in Chicago, two of which were later retired.
Pilote wore No. 21 during his first season with the Blackhawks, and later tried out No. 22 before eventually choosing No. 3, the number with which he stuck for 11 seasons. No. 21 was later retired for Stan Mikita, and Pilote's No. 3 was retired in 2008 in a ceremony honoring him alongside the late Keith Magnuson.
4. Over the course of 86 years, the No. 14 has been worn by 57 different players for the Blackhawks.
The likes of Doug Bentley, Ab McDonald, Mike O'Connell and Al Secord all donned No. 14, the most popular number in franchise history. The least popular number (from 1-30) was No. 13. Dan Carcillo, Alexei Zhamnov, and Nick Wasnie are the only three players in franchise history to brave the "unlucky" number.
5. Bobby Hull’s iconic No. 9 hangs in the rafters of the United Center, but he also wore two other numbers before that.
The Golden Jet debuted for the Blackhawks wearing No. 16 in the 1958-59 season and stuck with it for three full campaigns. In 1961, Hull sported No. 7 for a two-season stint. Then, in 1963, Hull finally found his way to No. 9, which he played with for—get this—nine seasons. It’s worth mentioning that Hull began and finished his professional hockey career wearing jersey number 16.