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Duffer’s Dabbles: When Red Wings’ Mr. Hockey First Donned No. 9



Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings
Gordie Howe and Rocket Richard, two famous No. 9s.

Let’s face it – Gordie Howe’s achievements with the Detroit Red Wings could easily fill one of those 365-days-a-year moments calendars you sit on your desk.

Not a day goes by when it seems like Howe didn’t do something noteworthy while wearing the winged wheel. Some, though, are more significant achievements than others. Take this weekend, for instance.

It was on October 29, 1947, in a game at Chicago Stadium when Gordie Howe first skated out on the ice for an NHL game wearing the No. 9 he’d make legendary on the back of his Red Wings jersey. The Red Wings won 5-2, although Howe was held off the scoresheet.

For the first four games of the 1947-48 campaign, sophomore Howe wore the No. 17 he’d donned during his NHL rookie season. The No. 9 was made available when it became apparent that contract holdout Roy Conacher, who’d worn No. 9, wouldn’t be back with the the team. Eventually, Conacher was dealt to the Blackhawks.

Offered No. 9, Howe originally resisted. He was finally convinced to make the switch after learning the players with single-digit uniform numbers were assigned the larger lower berths on the train during road trips.

For those keeping score at home, Mr. Hockey scored 779 of his club-record 786 goals as a Red Wing while wearing No. 9.

Around The League

Toronto: The Maple Leafs, who play host to the Red Wings on Saturday night, locked up another piece of their core when defenseman Morgan Rielly agreed to terms on an eight-year, $60-million contract extension.

Washington: Already without Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, the Capitals lost another forward when Nic Dowd suffered an injury in the morning skate prior to Friday’s win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Colorado: St. Louis Blues goalie Jordan Binnngton’s infamous temper boiled over against the Avalanche. He shot the puck at Darcy Kuemper, his Avalanche counterpart, and swung his stick at the head of Avs center Nazem Kadri.

Detroit: Red Wings forward Sam Gagner described the Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal as a reckoning for the NHL.