Retired Russian forward Pavel Bure wore No. 10 for much of his playing career. But he wanted to wear No. 96, he writes in his blog for NHL.com/ru, the League's Russian language website.
Bure requested No. 96 to honor the day he arrived in North America to play for the Vancouver Canucks on Sept. 6, 1991. But Canucks coach Pat Quinn did not like the idea of high numbers, so Bure was given No. 10, the number he wore with the Soviet Union national team.
Bure, who had 437 goals and 779 points in 702 games during a 12-season NHL career with the Canucks, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers, makes regular contributions to NHL.com/ru.
"When I first came to Vancouver, I wanted to commemorate the date of arrival and take No. 96," Bure wrote. "But Pat Quinn was conservative about things like that and we agreed that instead I would take No. 10, which was first given to me by the greatest coach in the history of Russian hockey, Viktor Tikhonov."
Bure switched to No. 96 in 1995 when his Red Army teammate, Alexander Mogilny, was traded to Vancouver by the Buffalo Sabres. It didn't exactly work to Bure's advantage. He played 15 games in 1995-96 because of a torn ACL, and he had 23 goals and 55 points in 63 games the following season.
Bure switched back to No. 10 for the 1997-98 season and scored 51 goals in 82 games.
The Canucks retired Bure's No. 10 on Nov. 2, 2013. It was the first time a Russian player had his number retired by an NHL team.
"It was one of the most important moments in my life," Bure wrote. "I am proud of the fact that I was able to leave such a tremendous legacy.
"The choice of the number is very important to most of the hockey players. Usually it is connected with an important date or an event in life. I didn't get to choose my number because in the Soviet system they assigned to players. But eventually, No. 10 became very special to me."