Can you wear 99 in the NHL? A brief history

It would not come as a shock to anybody that numbers go along with the most famous players. 
As Larry Murphy is known for wearing the number 55. Likewise in hockey, we all are familiar with the number “99”, which reminds us of one of the greatest hockey players, Wayne Gretzky. Is there anyone else who has worn the number 99 in hockey?

Can you wear 99 in the NHL? He wore the number 99 throughout his entire professional career, and the NHL officially retired the number league-wide in 2000 as a tribute to him. No player is allowed to wear 99 since then in NHL. It’s a unique honor to Gretzky as no other number has been retired league-wide in any of the four major North American professional sports leagues.

Players throughout history have believed that the number 99 will bring them good fortune. The first player to wear it was Gretzky, who quickly changed the culture around this number. Now the number can be worn by anyone on the team and has lost all of its former meaning.

Why did Gretzky start wearing 99?

Wayne Gretzky started wearing the number 99 because:

  • He felt that it symbolized his determination to win every game. 
  • He wanted to be known as the best and most successful player in the world, and he knew that he had to be better than anyone else at every level of play.
  • He also wore 99 because it was a number that represented him being able to do anything he set his mind to. 
  • He knew that if he could achieve his goals, there would be nothing standing in his way.
  • He also wore it because he thought that if he wore it, then his teammates would be more motivated to play harder for him, and they would work harder to get him the puck.

Moreover, it is also said that Gretzky started wearing the number 99 because he felt it was a good luck number. 

Wear 99 In NHL

Related Post: What Teams did Gretzky play for?

When did Wayne Gretzky have his number retired?

Retirement From Edmonton Oilers

When the Edmonton Oilers retired Wayne Gretzky’s jersey number on October 1, 1999, it was a fitting tribute.

Wayne Gretzky Number

Retirement From Los Angeles Kings

Before the start of the 2002-2003 season, the Los Angeles Kings retired Wayne Gretzky’s jersey number.

Retirement From the NHL

Gretzky’s jersey was retired in 2000 league-wide.  However, some other teams like the Edmonton Oilers and Lod Angeles Kings also retired Gretzky’s number later. This was after his final NHL season, during which he scored 794 points and won the Stanley Cup.

Why did Wayne Gretzky have his number retired?

In an interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Wayne Gretzky said that he wanted to retire after he won the Stanley Cup because it would be an appropriate way to end his career. He said that it would also give him time to spend with family and friends after so many years of hard work.
Many analysts have said that Gretzky’s legacy is so strong that it will be difficult to replace him once he finally retires.

Related Post: Wayne Gretzky’s Firsts: NHL Game, Goal, Point, Stanley Cup + more

Who has worn 99?

There are only two players who have worn the number 99 in the NHL, Mario Lemieux, and Wayne Gretzky. Lemieux wore this number when he played for the Pittsburgh Penguins during his second season in 1991-92. Gretzky wore it while playing with the Edmonton Oilers until 1998, before retiring after that season and going back to wearing No. 99 when playing for the Los Angeles Kings until finally hanging up his skates permanently in 1999. 

Other than Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, a few other players have also worn this number.  

  • Brett Hull is one such example; he had three stints wearing it with the St. Louis Blues (1979-80), Detroit Red Wings (1980-81), and Dallas Stars (1981-82). 
  • Trevor Linden wore it for one game for Pittsburgh during the 1995-96 season before switching to No. 16 for good measure; he also wore No. 99 in 2010 when he was with Vancouver Canucks but switched back to his old number as well as several other players before finally retiring from professional hockey altogether in 2011 or 12.

Are there any other league-wide retired numbers?

To be exact, NO, there are no other retired numbers in the National Hockey League. The league’s official website has a list of all the players who have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and their numbers, but no retired players.

This is because of a rule that was set up by the NHL in 1998:

“To prevent any player from having too many numbers retired by his/her team, it is necessary for any player who has been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame to choose an alternate number that will be retired at some point.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Who was the first NHL player to wear 99?

Wayne Gretzky was the first and the only player to wear the number 99 in the NHL. He wore it throughout his entire professional career, which spanned from 1978 to 1999.

Can a player still wear the number 99 in other hockey leagues or levels?

Yes, players can still wear the number 99 in other hockey leagues or levels, including junior and amateur leagues. However, the number is often associated with Gretzky and his legacy in the sport.

Are there any other retired numbers league-wide in the NHL?

Yes, the NHL has retired several other numbers league-wide, including number 66 in honor of Mario Lemieux, number 4 in honor of Bobby Orr, number 9 in honor of Maurice Richard, and number 2 in honor of Doug Harvey.

What is the distinction between hockey number 99?

The significance of hockey number 99 is that it’s a tribute to Wayne Gretzky, one of the most iconic players in the history of ice hockey. He was well-known for his remarkable quickness and shooting ability.

Conclusion: Can you wear 99 in the NHL?

The number 99 is the most commonly used in hockey. It’s the rookie number, and it means that the player was drafted into their respective league. The players with this number usually have a high potential to become great players in the future. This number is also given to players who are retiring from professional life and want to go back to their original team.

The number 99 is a special number for Wayne Gretzky. It represents his career as a hockey player and the number of Stanley Cups he won during his playing career.

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