While we briefly touched on this during our first article in this series about Tradition vs Future, this is becoming a hot topic and will no doubt be a touchy subject for many Jets fans.
The Jets have already publicly stated that the numbers of previous Jets greats will not be retired, but they will be honoured. I think this is a great approach as only the Ottawa Senators have a retired number from a player that played on the first incarnation of the Senators that did not belong to the current franchise.
By doing this you will leave it up to the player if they want to take on the responsibility of wearing one of these numbers. There are two players that are largely in the centre of this debate as arguably two of the best Jets ever wore numbers 9 and 10 and last year in Atlanta Evander Kane and Bryan Little wore those digits.
According to the Jets official site Little has already made the choice to wear number 18 instead of 10 as a Jet. Kane is still listed as 9.
One can look at this and scream bloody murder but the choice is going to be up to the players now and moving forward how they choose to honour the players that wore the number before them in our city. I say in our city because if you don’t believe that Mike Keane’s number 12 won’t be honoured alongside those of Hull and Hawerchuck and Steen etc. then I guess you didn’t pay attention to our first post and Scott Brown’s tweet.
True North is going about this correctly by not just honouring the previous Jets they are honouring previous Winnipeg hockey greats so do not be surprised to see more then just Hull, Hawerchuck, Steen, Numminen and Keane honoured on opening night.
This is an ownership that has a great grasp on the traditionalist attitude in Winnipeg and have yet to lose site of that yet and don’t expect them to anytime soon.
Toronto has 15 players that they have honoured but don’t have their jerseys retired so it’s unlikely the Jets will go crazy and honour that many but we wouldn’t be surprised to see any of the players listed below honoured.
- 25 – Thomas Steen (All time leader in Jets GP with 950 and assists with 553)
- 10 – Dale Hawerchuck (All time leader in Jets goals scored with 279 and points with 817)
- 8 – - Randy Carlyle (All time leader in Jets GP by a defenseman with 564)
- 27 – Teppo Numminen (Right behind Carlyle’s stats as Jets defenseman in every category)
- 16 = Laurie Boschman (5th all time in Jets points with 379 and Jets leader in PIM with 1333)
- 9 – Doug Smail (second longest serving Jet behind Steen with 11 seasons and 4th overall in points 397)
- 15 – Paul MacLean (3rd leading Jet in goals, assists and points)
- 2 – Dave Ellet (leading goal scorer as a defenseman with 95)
- 4 – Fredrik Olausson (leading point getter as a defenseman with 335)
- 17 – Kris King (valuable leader and last NHL Jets captain)
- 35 – Bob Essensa (NHL Jets leader by GP by a goalie)
- 4 – Lars-Erik Sjoberg (first captain of the Jets NHL team, led WHA Jets defense in points with 194)
- 9 – Bobby Hull (led the WHA Jets in GP, goals and points)
- 14 – Ulf Nilsson (led the WHA Jets in assists with 344 in only 4 seasons)
- 15 – Andres Hedberg (second in WHA Jets goals with 236 in only 4 seasons)
- 12 – Morris Lukowich (key member of late WHA teams and early NHL teams)
- 1 – Joe Daley (leader in GP by a goalie and holds several WHA league goalie records)
- ??? – Frank Fredrickson (Captain and leading scorer with 12 goals for the Winnipeg Falcons team that won the first olympic gold medal)
- 12 – Mike Keane (365 GP with the AHL Moose, valuable leader)
- 21 – Jimmy Roy (combined 603 GP between AHL and IHL Moose, arguably biggest fan favorite of all Moose players)
- 2 – Brett Hauer (most GP on the IHL Moose with 322 and most points with 251)
Who did we miss or who do you think does/doesn’t deserve this honour?