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Alex Tuch's No. 89 A Tribute To His Size

The Golden Knights jersey number choice rooted in his youth hockey days as his team's biggest player

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

There have been about 6,000 players in NHL history.

Of all the players that have played in the NHL, from the Vancouver to Voskresenk, and everywhere in between, of all the 6,000 players, only 13 have ever worn the No. 89.

In fact, nobody in the league's first 73 years wore No. 89 until Soviet star Alexander Mogilny defected - in 1989 - from behind the Iron Curtain to join the Buffalo Sabres.

With there being so few players in league history to have worn these digits, it seemed a bit curious that Alex Tuch showed up to informal practices at City National Arena this week wearing these digits. Because while Mogilny and other No. 89s - Mikkel Boedker, Mike Sam Gagner, Mike Comrie, et al - have generally been speedy playmakers, Tuch is a power forward.

Although as Tuch tells us, although he doesn't fit the profile of past No. 89s, his decision to where this number is very much linked to who he is.

In particular, to his size. At 6-foot-4, 222 pounds, Tuch is the largest forward in the Golden Knights organization.

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"I was playing for a spring hockey team when I was seven or eight-years-old, Tuch said. "They gave me a jersey. They asked me what number I wanted. I asked them for a number, they didn't have it. They said here's the biggest jersey we have, and it had No. 89 on it. It just stuck, ever since I was about seven-years-old."

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Somewhere along the line, however, Tuch lost his No. 89.

With Boston College, he wore No. 12. Playing for U.S. National teams and in the minor leagues, he had No. 17.

And during his first six NHL games last season with the Minnesota Wild - who drafted him in the first round in 2014 - he wore No. 53.

 

Video: Alex Tuch chats about becoming a Golden Knight

 

Although Tuch will be living in the Red Rock until learning if he makes the Golden Knights' roster out of training camp, his coming to a new team gave him the opportunity to select his number of choice again. Which although the NHL doesn't run jersey numbers based on size as his youth hockey team in Syracuse did when he was growing up, made it feel right for him to select his familiar number.

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 "It was a little conversation I had with the equipment manager, Chris (Davidson-Adams)," Tuch said. "It's something I wasn't able to get in Minnesota when I was called up. I had 53, which was not my favorite number. Then, I took what I could get.

"89 was something I was always looking to get back.

"But right now, I'm just looking to make the team."

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