The only number currently retired by the National Hockey League is the No. 99 of the great Wayne Gretzky. But if Gretzky was to have his way, there would be another number, the No. 9 of late hockey hockey legend Gordie Howe, who passed away earlier this month.
Gretzky actually wore No. 99 as a tribute to his childhood hero, and now Gretzky is advocating that the NHL retires Howe’s number to preserve his legacy.
“I’m pretty biased, if I had my way I would do it,” Gretzky told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s for the league, I’m not involved in the league right now. I’m sure whatever they choose to do is going to be very special, because Gordie deserves something really special and unique.
“I don’t think anybody helped promote the game, the sport or our country better than Gordie Howe. He was proud to be Canadian, he was proud of being from Saskatchewan. And I don’t think the NHL is going to overlook how important he was to the game. I’m sure they’re going to do something really special for him.”
Howe has inspired generations of hockey players and a number of them have worn the No. 9 as a tribute to their hero.
But while it is a commonly worn number, you’d have to assume many players would understand and respect the decision to retire the number of one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Do you think the NHL should retire No. 9 across the league? Sound off in the comments section below with your thoughts.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports