What’s in a number?

A lot of athletes (and their fans) have superstitions. If you have never played a sport, then a simple thing such as a jersey number may seem trivial to you. I remember when I played any sport there was one number I HAD to have, otherwise I wouldn’t feel comfortable and perhaps not play my best game. It was that big of a deal. Professional athletes feel the same way when it comes to jersey numbers.

Some numbers are not available to players since they have been retired by their team they play for or in certain circumstances, the entire league (99 for Gretzky in hockey and 42 for Jackie Robinson in baseball). That number is an identity and is as equally as important as the name on the back and the logo on the shirt.

This evening, the Islanders are ready to introduce their up and coming star Josh Ho-Sang and there has been controversy surrounding JHS for a while now. Yes, he does not know how to work an alarm clock, and his relaxed demeanor is something that rubs people theHoSang.jpg wrong way, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s his number. Ho-Sang is going to be wearing #66. A number that only two players have worn since Mario Lemieux’s retirement. (Gino Odjick full time and TJ Brodie, who only played a total of 3 games in it). So what’s the issue? The Islanders haven’t retired number 66, and the NHL has not officially retired it either. If you look at any other NHL roster, you wont see any player wearing it.

Some people say that it is a sign of disrespect while others argue the opposite that it is a dedication to that player. Mario Lemieux was a stellar hockey player, probably in the top 10 list of many hockey fans (especially Pittsburgh fans). So why aren’t people up in arms about players wearing number 4 or number 9? Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe are probably in the top 3 of lists. I know they are the top two in mine.

What do you think? Leave us a comment below or use the hashtag #BLB66 to start a trending discussion on this topic.

Michelle Passi is the owner and administrator of Blue Line Banter. 
Follow her on Twitter @Buttercluck15
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