Hockey Question: Why Do Goalies Wear One of Only 4 Numbers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Evan S, Oct 14, 2002.

  1. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I know there are exceptions (Jose Theodore in Montreal wears #60) but for the most part, goalies in the NHL wear one of 4 different numbers: 1, 30, 31 or 35.

    I mean, the NFL has a rule based on the position you play as to what number you HAVE to wear but as far as I know, the NHL has no such rule. Any reason why goalies stick to the same group of numbers?
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Goalies have worn many numbers other than 1, 30, 31 and 35. For example, Ken Dryden, Hall of Fame goalie for the great '70's Montreal teams, wore #29. I'm sure that other HTF hockey fans can chime in with the number of their favorite goalies.

    It's probably just a matter of how teams assign numbers to players. There is no rule regarding uniform number by position, as in the NFL.
     
  3. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    Scott, I know there are exceptions (Roy wears 33, Belfour wears 20, etc.) but for the most part, if you check NHL rosters, about 80% of all NHL goalies wear one of those 4 numbers. I just thought that was strange. I've played the sport myself for 15 years and never stopped to question why it's that way in the NHL.
     
  4. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Really? I hadn't noticed.. [​IMG] Hmm, intersting
     
  5. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Is it, really? [​IMG]
    /Mike
     
  6. Mitty

    Mitty Supporting Actor

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    It's probably just a matter of the goalies that those players grew up idolizing, and they wore those numbers when they were growing up playing. I think at one time, there was an unwritten rule that each team had two goaltenders, one wore 1, the other 30. It'll change over time, but maybe not drastically. At one time, pretty much no one wore a number over thirty. Now, of course, many of the single digit numbers for a number of the original teams are retired.

    Go back 25 years and see how many "double" numbers there were (aside from 11 and 22 of course). Then Wayne Gretzky who couldn't wear #9 (his hero Gordie Howe's number), decided to wear 99, pretty much shattering the "rules" regarding how high a number you could wear, and setting a precedent for Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros, Ray Bourque, etc. Of course, Bourque wore 7 at the beginning of his career, and switched to 77 in order that the Bruins could retire 7, Phil Espositos old number (a very classy move).
     
  7. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    OK, I did some checking and the actual numbers fell below my expectations but they are still high.

    Of active goalies on NHL rosters right now, 36 of 59 wear either the number 1, 30, 31 or 35. That's 61%. I'm not a statistics major, but I would expect that would be outside the normal range for a distribution, no? I'm just thinking it has to be more than just a coincidence.

    4 other goalies wear the #33, so if I added that number to the sample, it would be 40 of 59. Weird.
     
  8. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    as a lifelong hockey player, i never understood why goalies are considered sacred ground, even out of the crease. i can understand that you cant come up and slam them, but give them a little nudge and youre on your ass. as a smaller left winger, its happened to me many times. they wear more equipment than any two players combined, and they get away with murder with their sticks. (see patrick roy). he is a perfect example of this. not to mention him being a whiny over rated player with a bad attitude. and he is as dirty as eric lindros! luckily for him, he has played on playoff teams his whole career. lets see him flourish in florida. anyway, despite the consequences, i still give goalies a bump every now and then. keeps them on their toes. and keeps me on my ass.

    CJ
     
  9. Joel Mack

    Joel Mack Cinematographer

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    I hate Patrick Roy with a burning passion hotter than a thousand suns, but he's definitely not overrated.
    Personally, a goalie should be fair game anywhere outside the crease. Hell, they've got more padding than anyone else, they should be able to take a shot or two... [​IMG]
     
  10. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    They have the 'Bookend numbers"; if there is a 1 playing or retired then you get the '30s'
     
  11. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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  12. Jeff Gatie

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    I have the answer. Playing youth hockey, the goalie's jersey always had to be much larger than the regular player's jerseys due to the extra equipment underneath. Because youth sports often used the same jerseys from year to year, the 2 goalie jerseys always had the same numbers. Traditionally, they used numbers '1' and '30', these were your only choices if you strapped on the pads. You couldn't choose number '5' or '22' because the jersey would not fit. Thus, most goalies grew up wearing '1' or '30'. When they got to the higher leagues, (Juniors or AHL), probably the only reason they would change is if the number they wore as a kid was retired or worn by another goaltender on the team, in which case you would choose something close, like '29' or '31'.
    Numbers are a funny thing in Hockey, you become superstitious and attached. Especially if you are a high-strung flakey head-case like the stereotypical goalie[​IMG] .
     
  13. Stephen L

    Stephen L Second Unit

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  14. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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  15. Stephen L

    Stephen L Second Unit

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  16. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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  17. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Let's see. Here is a list of Roy's accomplishments:

    NHL's all-time winningest goalie.
    Holds NHL record for most 30-plus win seasons.
    Holds NHL career playoff records for most games played by a goaltender and most wins.
    Won the Stanley Cup four times, twice with Montreal and twice with Colorado.
    Led NHL in save percentage in four seasons.
    Won Conn Smythe Trophy (1986, 1993 and 2001).
    Won Vezina Trophy three times.
    Played in eight NHL All-Star games.
    Won William M. Jennings Trophy (1991-92).

    If you don't like the guy, Christ, that's fine. There are numerous pro athletes who have accomplished great things in their careers who I do not care for either. But to call him overrated is absurd. Roy will go down as the best goalie of the past 20 years (if not all time) in the NHL.

    Stephen, your point about Dryden's rookie season is a good one. Dryden and LaFleur were my favorite players growing up, so I meant no disrespect to #29.
     
  18. Steeve Bergeron

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    Scott's absolutely right. Patrick Roy is certainly not overrated. I know, I'm a fan of the Montreal Canadiens and I've been following Roy's career from the start. He's easily the best goalie I've ever seen. He practically won the Stanley Cup in 1986 and 1993 just by himself. All those overtime victories in 1993 were simply unreal. He was unbeatable. I'll never forget that.
     
  19. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    I hate montreal for the same reason I hate the Yankees, but Dryden and Roy are both great. Roy has great numbers but he didnt go all the way through law school.
    And thats amazing feat considering the pucks to the head (the old plastic horror movie kind that hury like hell I kind of remember)
    But if you have to pick Montreal Goalies, I'll take Gump Worsley any day....cause he was named Gump.....
    Throw in Billy Smith from the Islanders (cause the moment anyone laughed from the name Gump; he'd wack out their knee out with his Stick)
    ....As I said they are Both great, from very different times!
     

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