The unveiling earlier today of Dougie Hamilton and Michael Frolik to the assembled local media masses at the Saddledome raised a few eyebrows, but mostly for reasons pertaining to jersey numbers.
Hamilton was given his old #27, which he wore in Boston. Frolik’s sweater was the subject of much speculation and rankle prior to its display; he wore #67 in Winnipeg and given Brian Burke’s public distaste for high numbers, most figured he’d have to abandon his old identifier.
So when he was given #67 by Brad Treliving, the presentation included an explanation from the general manager, responding to a question from Sportsnet’s Roger Millions regarding the high number given to the newest Flame.
“We’ve talked a lot, at length. Both Brian and I were very much consistent in our belief in the policy we had. The difficulty we had, the great thing about our organization is we’ve had Hall of Fame players play here and we’ve had numbers slowly come out of commission. And running out of numbers, and then wearing a training camp number and getting acclimatized to it and the difficulty of change… The two factors… really, I don’t want to put this on Michael, this is on me, we’ve made the decision to expand our numbers.”
Three other changes were announced to numbers, via the Flames site:
- Josh Jooris moves to #16 from his training camp number #86
- Brandon Bollig moves to #52 from his previous number #25 (he wore #52 in Chicago)
- Sam Bennett moves to #93 from his training camp number #63
Among the current allotment of jersey numbers, those that are seemingly off-limits are #2 (Al MacInnis), #9 (Lanny McDonald), #10 (Gary Roberts), #12 (Jarome Iginla), #14 (Theoren Fleury), #20 (Gary Suter), #25 (Joe Nieuwendyk), #30 (Mike Vernon), #34 (Miikka Kiprusoff) and #39 (Doug Gilmour). [Those are all my guesses, by the way.]
The organization had previously spoken about the Forever A Flame program allowing the team to honour prior greats while having current players adding to the legacies of those digits, but with one main roster player in Bollig moving away from an honoured number, it’s unclear if they’re backing away from that sentiment at all.