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BEHIND THE NUMBER: #44

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
When Islanders center Rob Schremp was younger, his family would frequent Oswego Speedway and root for car No. 8 as it sped around the track. After years of visiting the speedway and cheering for their favorite car, eight became the Schremp family number.


Hockey was also a big part of the Schremp family. Rob’s uncle, Mike, started the youth hockey program in Fulton, NY and got Rob into the sport.

“Growing up my uncle coached my cousins Jeff and Chris,” Schremp said. “They were always big hockey players. Chris played at Brown and Jeff played in high school.”

Rob Schremp #44 of the New York Islanders skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Nassau Coliseum on November 24, 2010 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Both Jeff and Chris wore sweater No. 8, so when it came time for Rob and his brother Tyler to start playing hockey, they looked to their cousins’ father, their Uncle Mike, for guidance.

“My brother and I always watched my cousins play hockey and we loved the game,” Schremp said. “We played every sport possible, wrestling, baseball, football, but hockey was always our passion. Our Uncle Mike coached us as tikes and taught us how to skate. My cousin Jeff actually coached me for six or seven years, he was always my coach.”

“Wearing the number eight is a huge tradition for us,” Schremp added.

But when it was time for Tyler, a year older than Rob, to wear his first jersey, eight wasn’t available so he became No. 88. The next year, eight and 88 were already taken, so being the problem solver that most mothers are, Lisa Schremp cut the number eight in half, for her newest hockey player.

But the legacies didn’t stop there.

Lisa explained, “When I came home and told my husband that 44 was the number I picked, he was like ‘that was Robbie’s number,’ ” meaning his best friend from childhood who passed away before Rob was born, and whom he is named after.

“My husband and Robbie grew up together,” Lisa said. “They lived next to each other in their neighborhood. Each one of the families had a ton of kids and they all played together. Robbie was my husband’s best friend from the time he was little.”

Keeping in touch with Robbie’s parents after he passed away, Lisa explained, “My husband Mark told Rob’s dad that if we had another boy, his name was going to be Robbie. Of course I got pregnant and I had a boy and here he is!”

So while Schremp may have started his career on Long Island wearing jersey No. 13, his real number was always 44.

“I wore 44 my whole life,” Schremp said. “It just has a long history with me. I even have it tattooed on my back. It’s really important and really valuable to me.”

Starting his career with the Entry Draft in 2004, Schremp was given his first start in the National Hockey League during the 2006-07 season. While he hasn’t always been able to wear No. 44, Schremp has always sported the number whenever he was given the opportunity.

“When I arrived in Edmonton I couldn’t wear 44 right away,” said the center. “When I got it back, (Sheldon) Souray came and I lost it again. And when I came here, Freddy (Meyer) had it, so I wore 13. When it became available again, with Freddy (Meyer) being signed by Atlanta this summer, I decided I wanted to wear it again.”

Not only did Rob Schremp get his name from his father’s best friend, he has been honoring his legacy by wearing sweater No. 44 and at the same time he has been continuing his family’s history with the number eight and has kept the family’s hockey legacy alive in the NHL.
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