San Jose Sharks center Andrew Desjardins joined an exclusive club when he elected to wear the infamous number 69 on his jersey. In fact he became only the second NHL player to ever do so.
I’ve always thought of hockey players as gentleman and in general I feel they live by higher morale values – needless to say I was a bit taken aback when I saw the number 69 get an assist on the game-winning goal during Thursday nights Sharks and Boston Bruins game. I became so intrigued by the history of the number in the NHL, I had to look it up.
Turns out you would be hard pressed to find an athlete of any real significance that has ever worn the number, unless your a big Mark Schlereth fan. I have to be honest with you, until tonight I have never heard of Andrew Desjardins and thanks to his risque jersey number I won’t soon forget him.
I must not have been alone in my feeling about the social significance of such a number because it had never been worn in an NHL game until Mel “The Mangler” Angelstad de-virginized it for the Washington Capitals during the 2003-2004 season. But after only two televised games, both he and the number disappeared. Rumor has it that newly appointed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made both Anglelstad and his naughty number disappear.
Desjardins, on the other hand, has been able to stick around a bit longer having donned the number since 2010-2011. Despite the negative attention his jersey brings him, the 26-year-old has made the most of his time in the spotlight. When he takes the ice against the Phoenix Coyotes he will be playing in his, you guessed it, 69th game of the season, after playing in only 17 games in 2010-11.
Desjadins once told the Hockey News, “I think everyone knows why I wear it.” Yes we do, and we will never forget you for it.
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