Thursday, March 8, 2012

'DID YOU KNOW' - "Double O" Davidson

Sometimes, choosing the number you're going to wear on your jersey can be a tough decision. Other times, it's the easiest thing an NHLer will do.

A tip of the hat to an idol from days gone by? A tribute to family or friends? How about a play on words (check out 'Heinze 57' and 'Commodore 64').

Some numbers can evoke a sense of tradition (like goalies choosing 1, or defencemen sticking to low number single-digits) while other numbers reek of cockiness (c'mon.....'66', '88', '99'?).

But there are times where you'll see a number that just really looks odd.

DID YOU KNOW: New York Rangers goalie John Davidson was the first player in the NHL to wear "Double Zero".

You can barely make it out on the card, but Davidson's move the '00' came during the 1977 season. He had worn '30' up until that point, but felt that the zeros looked good to goalies.

By the way....I love the ol' fibreglass mask tucked into the top of John's pad. There's something you don't see anymore.

Davidson ended up with a 14-13-8 record and a 3.18 GAA while wearing this unique choice. In 1978, with new coach Fred Shero at the helm, John returned to a more conventional '30' on his back and ended up leading the Rangers to the 1979 Stanley Cup Finals.

Funny thing....all those zeros on his back resulted in only one shutout during those 35 games.

But he wasn't the only goalie to don the '00'.....

Martin Biron wore it as a rookie with the Buffalo Sabres in 1995-96.

Get this though, after NHL statisticians discovered a bug in their new stat-tracking software, the "Biron rule" was created, restricting jersey numbers to whole numbers between 1 and 99 (later limited to numbers between 1 and 98 after the league-wide retirement of number 99 for Wayne Gretzky).

Rule 9 - Uniforms
9.2 Numbers - Each player and each goalkeeper listed in the line-up of each team shall wear an individual identifying number at least ten inches (10'') high on the back of his sweater. Sweater numbers such as 00, ½ (fractions), .05 (decimals), 101 (three digit) are not permitted. In addition, each player and goalkeeper shall wear his surname in full, in block letters three inches (3'') high, across the back of his sweater at shoulder height.

Biron switched to number 43, a number he has worn ever since.

Now you know.


  1. Great post! And that card would definitely look good in my gallimaufry project.

    1. Indeed it would. I will check to see if I have an actual copy as alas.., have busted me. I grabbed these two cards off of a Google image search (a rare instance).

      I do have some others I've been stockpiling.

  2. I remembered that JD had worn the '00', but never knew that Biron had also worn it. Great post!

  3. I had no idea!! I think that's a little silly for a player to even try using 00. Personally, my number is very close and even superstitious for me. It seems like someone wearing 00 might be making a mockery of the rest of us...but whatever floats your boat I guess.