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Who Wore it Best

Sheehy, Biron last players to wear Nos. 0, 00

League removed numbers from circulation prior to 1996-97 season

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / Columnist

'Who Wore it Best': 0 and 00

'Who Wore it Best': Neil Sheehy and Martin Biron

Dave Stubbs of shares the NHL history of numbers 0 and 00, and talks to Neil Sheehy (0) and Martin Biron (00) on 'Who Wore it Best'

  • 08:54 •

Neil Sheehy will forever hold an NHL record, as will Martin Biron. Unofficial records, but records nonetheless.

On April 2, 1988, wearing jersey No. 0 for the Hartford Whalers, rugged veteran defenseman Sheehy scored on Boston Bruins goalie Andy Moog, becoming the only player - and obviously, the last player - to score a goal wearing that single oval digit on his back.

In late December and early January of the 1995-96 season, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League emergency callup Biron appeared in three games in goal for the Buffalo Sabres, becoming the last player to wear No. 00. A teenager tossed into the deep end of the NHL pool, Biron was lit up, allowing 10 goals on 64 shots for a 5.05 goals-against average and .844 save percentage in 119 minutes between the pipes.

Over five weeks, following a poll of writers, commentators and analysts from NBCSN, Rogers Sportsnet and NHL Network debated Nos. 99 down to No. 1 in "NHL's Who Wore It Best?" It was a subjective exercise, without a right or wrong answer (although if anyone had voted other than Wayne Gretzky for No. 99, there might have been an investigation).

The fun wouldn't be complete unless we visited, for a bonus, with Sheehy and Biron. Beginning with the 1996-97 season, the NHL decreed that Nos. 0 and 00 could no longer be worn since they confused the League's digital database; today, only No. 1 through No. 98 are allowed, No. 99 retired for Gretzky at the NHL's 50th All-Star Game in 2000 following The Great One's retirement.

The first (and only) skater to wear No. 0, Sheehy wasn't the first player in that number - that distinction goes to New York Rangers goalie Andy Aitkenhead in 1934, with goalie Paul Bibeault wearing it for the Montreal Canadiens in 1942.

Rangers goalie John Davidson wore No. 00 for the entire 1977-78 season, switching from No. 30 at the suggestion of team captain Phil Esposito, who was No. 77. Davidson has recalled being heckled by fans on the road, asked whether his jersey number was in fact his IQ.

But the last players with Nos. 0 and 00 would be Sheehy and Biron, respectively. It's a badge of honor for each, and the answer to a trivia question that's won, or lost, more than one bar bet.

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