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Questions and Isles: Meaning Behind Jersey Numbers

The New York Islanders share the meaning, if any, behind their jersey numbers

by Cory Wright and Sasha Kandrach @NYIslanders / asked the players the story, if any, behind their jersey numbers. Read up on the answers from the group:

Josh Bailey - No. 12

"Nope. My first training camp, our Equipment Manager gave me No. 12 and I've been wearing it ever since."

Mathew Barzal - No. 13

"Well, I was in Seattle, and I wore 97 a lot growing up. Then, in the WHL the team that I got drafted to didn't have anybody who was over the number 40 or something. So, I didn't want to be the one guy or the odd man out. I loved Pavel Datsyuk growing up, so I thought 13 was a no brainer."

Anthony Beauvillier - No. 18

"I didn't really choose it. When [Islanders President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello] came in, I just walked into the locker room, and I had 18 on my jersey. So, I'm like, 'Okay.' I didn't say anything. I was just 18. It's been there for a couple of years now."

Zdeno Chara - No. 33

"When I started my career [on Long Island], that first year I was given 53. Then, the next year the equipment manager at the time said, 'Hey, why don't we get you down to a lower number.' And they gave me 3 which I was okay with. I kept on wearing 3 when I went to Ottawa, but that changed when I went to Boston because No. 3 was retired [Lionel Hitchman]. So I said, 'Ok, why don't we double it up then?' And I've worn 33 ever since."

Casey Cizikas - No. 53

"That was the first number I got at [training] camp. They gave me 53 and it's been 53 ever since. It's grown on me that's for sure."

Cal Clutterbuck - No. 15

"I wore No. 12 my whole life playing hockey. When I went to junior, I started playing junior B before I got drafted to the OHL. No. 12 was taken, I believe by my cousin, so I had to pick another number and 15 was it. Then, I went to St. Mike's in junior and went back to No. 12. Then, I was traded to Oshawa and 12 was taken so I went back to 15. I've been 15 ever since minus a couple years in Minnesota where I wore 22."

Noah Dobson - No. 8

"That's a good connection [5 + 3 = 8, tying in his junior number of 53 to his current number of 8] but to be honest with you, Lou just gave it to me. I just came in one day and it was on my helmet."

Andy Greene - No. 4

"Ryan Pulock actually offered me 6 when I first got here. That was unbelievable for him to offer that. But what I told him and what I told Lou was that, '[Number] six was given to me by Lou a long time ago. It wasn't a number I chose. It was my number, but there was no personal attachment to it besides just being my number. So, I said just give me a number. So [Lou] gave me 4."

Anders Lee - No. 27

"Pretty simple, I wore 9 all growing up. I went to play junior hockey and 9 wasn't available. My favorite number was gone and 27 was as simple as 2 and 7 is 9. I've grown to fall in love with it. It was kind of the same thing when I got to the Island, it was back to 27 after wearing 9 in college. With Clark Gillies [having retired No. 9] and now, John Tonelli too, I have a track record of picking a number that's going to be retired."

Matt Martin - No. 17

"My parent's birthdays are both on the 17th. September 17 and June 17."

Scott Mayfield - No. 24

"No meaning. Forty-two was my first number and then, it got switched, it got flipped."

Brock Nelson - No. 29

"I've got no significance for that. I went to [North Dakota] and I think I was one of the last ones to decide I was coming in and that was one of the open numbers left. The equipment guy gave it to me and I've stuck with it ever since." 

Jean-Gabriel Pageau - No. 44

"No. That's the number I was given."

Kyle Palmieri - No. 21

"Not really, my rookie year in the AHL that's what I picked and stuck with it. That's about it. No cool story."

Adam Pelech - No. 3


Zach Parise - No. 11

"My dad [J.P. Parise] wore 11 for the [Minnesota] North Stars when he played there. That's why I chose 11 and stuck with it here."

Ryan Pulock - No. 6

"It was the jersey number I was given when I came to camp."

Ilya Sorokin - No. 30

"I was given that number when I got to the Island."

Semyon Varlamov - No. 40

"Not really. I started my career with No. 1. Then, when you switch teams there's some guys using the same number. When I was 20, I came into the United States and was playing with Washington. I think Brent Johnson was No. 1 so I had to switch to No. 40. I started my career in the NHL with No. 40. Then, I went to Colorado and No. 1 was available, so I took No. 1 back. Then, I came back here, and Thomas Greiss played with No. 1 so I had to decide which number I was going to play with. I decided to get back and I took No. 40. There's nothing really special about the number. I like it, 40 looks good. But there's nothing really special about it."

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