Hockey sweaters are one of the most iconic pieces of sports memorabilia in the world. For many players, they have their own special meaning for the number the select. Whether it be from a childhood hero or just an available number, going through a number’s history is fascinating.
Even though number 2 is currently hanging in the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center, it has a long history before it was retired in 2012.
Number 2 was initially worn by Ed Van Impe, who was an original Flyer. Van Impe was selected by the Flyers in the 1967 expansion draft from the Chicago Blackhawks. He would serve as the Flyers second captain in team history, taking the role from Lou Angotti who left after the Flyers inaugural season.
Van Impe would play for the Flyers for nine years, serving as captain from 1968 to 1973. He stuck around until 1976, winning two Stanley Cups for the Flyers in that time. Van Impe was traded to the Penguins on March 8, 1976. He would play just 22 games for the Penguins before retiring.
The number was only out of action for a year before it was claimed by newcomer Bob Dailey who the Flyers acquired from Vancouver on Januray 22, 1977. Dailey, who was a hulk of a man at 6’5, 220lbs, became the Flyers top defenseman during the late 70’s and early 80’s. In 1977-78, Dailey would set a (now broken) franchise records for 21 goals and 57 points by a defenseman. Dailey wore the number until 1981 when he shattered his ankle in what ended up being a career ending injury.
The following year, Mark Howe wore the number after the Flyers acquired him from Hartford. Mark Howe would be a pillar of the Flyers defense in the 1980’s. He was a Norris finalist three times during his Flyers tenure. Howe found chemistry with linemate Brad McCrimmon and the duo lead the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 1987, though they lost to the Oilers dynasty.
Howe played 10 seasons in Philadelphia before he was allowed to leave after the 1991-92 season to go to his hometown Red Wings to try to win the elusive Stanley Cup, which never ended up happening.
Rookie Dmitry Yushkevich was next to wear the number in 1992-93. The sixth round pick spent three season in Philly before leaving in free agency to go to the Leafs where he would turn into an all-star. Yushkevich was later re-acquired by the Flyers in 2003, but wore number 22, as number 2 was taken.
The number laid dormant until March 19, 1996 when the Flyers re-acquired Kerry Huffman from the Ottawa Senators. Huffman only played four games in his return to Philly before retiring from the NHL.
The number 2 would bounce around for years before finding a long-term home. Frantisek Kucera wore the number for two games in 1997 after being acquired from the Canucks before he was sent down to the Phantoms.
Adam Burt would be the next to claim number 2 after being traded to Philly in March of 1999. Burt played 84 games as a Flyer over the next season-and-a-half before signing as a free agent in Atlanta before he retired later the same year.
Brad Tiley was next to wear the number as he played two games as a Flyer in 2001.
After signing with the Flyers in the summer of 2001, Eric Weinrich wore the number 2 for the next two-and-a-half years before being traded in February of 2004 when he was dealt to St. Louis for a 5th round pick.
The number only laid dormant for a month before Vladimir Malakhov was acquired at the 2004 trade deadline. Malakhov played all of six games before leaving in free agency to sign with the Devils where he played 29 games until he retired.
Darian Hatcher was next to wear number 2 as he was signed in the summer of 2005 after being bought out by the Red Wings to comply with the new salary cap. Hatcher was named interim captain of the Flyers on January 29, 2006 as served the role for the rest of the season as Keith Primeau was dealing with post-concussion syndrome that ultimately ended his career. A knee injury would end Hatcher’s career in 2008.
Alexandre Picard who was a fringe-NHLer bouncing back and fourth between the NHL and AHL, wore number 2 for four games in 2008 during this call up. He previously wore number 45 during his callups the previous two years.
Lukáš Krajíček was the last active player to wear number 2 for the Flyers for 27 games after being signed by the club on January 31, 2010.
On March 12, 2012 during a game against the Red Wings, Mark Howe’s number 2 was retired by the Flyers. He was the fifth Flyer to have that honor and the first since Bill Barber in 1990. Mark and Gordie Howe joined Brett and Bobby Hull as the only other father-son duo to have their number retired by NHL franchises.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: NHL.com