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Exclusive interview with Taylor Hall

by Julie Robenhymer / New Jersey Devils

With the trade from Edmonton to New Jersey, Taylor Hall is also trading in his number four for number nine.

"Obviously, the number four was retired here," said the 24-year-old referencing Scott Stevens' number, which was retired in 2006. "But, even if it wasn't retired, I'm not sure that I would have kept the number four. In choosing number nine, I'm looking for a fresh start."

When his family moved from Calgary to Kingston, the then nine-year-old joined a team that had been together for several years and the available numbers were slim pickings.

"I actually tried to wear number nine, but someone had it, so I thought number four would be a cool number for a forward to wear. Plus, my mom was a huge Bobby Orr fan and I just stuck with it through Windsor and in Edmonton because it was always available," Hall explained.

"I originally wanted nine because I just thought it was a cool number. You always saw a lot of skilled guys wearing it. A lot of guys that score goals and play a little bit fancier and, if you look down the line, you'll see so many amazing players who have worn number nine, including within the Devils organization," he continued. "It was a number that was kind of flashy and, when you're a young kid playing hockey, that's what you're going for."

Hall is obviously aware of the history of the number nine in New Jersey and is prepared to play up to and hopefully exceed the expectations that might come with wearing that number.

"There have been a lot of great players that have worn the number nine and I want to add to that list," Hall said. "I think in sports you can get too caught up in trying to prove people wrong or that you deserve something and it ends up taking away from the player that you are. I'm not going to change anything in that way, but I am looking forward to a fresh start and an exciting opportunity in New Jersey."

He added: "I hope I look good in it."

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You can get your hands on Taylor's new jersey by ordering online at shop.nhl.com/devils.

~ Julie

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