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.
The number 9 was claimed during the Flyers inaugural season by Leon Rochefort, who was plucked off the Canadiens roster during the 1967 expansion draft. He played two seasons as a Flyer before he was traded to the Rangers exactly two years after the expansion draft.
The man they acquired in that trade was Reggie Flemming. He played 65 games during 1969-70 season before he was claimed by the Sabres during the 1970 expansion draft.
The Flyers third round pick in the 1970 Entry Draft was future Flyers legend Bob Kelly. He claimed number 9 during his rookie season in 1970-71 season and held the number until he was traded to the Capitals in August of 1980. During that stretch he played 741 games scoring 296 points and won two Stanley Cups.
Another Flyers pick Glen Cochrane was the next player to wear number 9. He wore it for 31 games during a call up in 1981 but would later switch to number 29 once he made the Flyers roster full-time during the following season.
Once Cochrane switched numbers, 9 was picked up by AHL’er Reid Bailey who played 10 games in the NHL from 1981-82.
On January 20, 1982 the Flyers acquired Darryl Sittler from Toronto. He was wear number 9 for the remaining 35 games of the 1981-82 season but would switch to number 27 for the 1982-83 season.
The next man to wear number 9 was Czech draft pick Miroslav Dvorak. The defenseman spent three seasons in North America, all with the Flyers from 1982 to 1985.
Yet another Flyers draft pick, Swedish forward Pelle Eklund wore number 9 during his rookie season in 1985-86. he became a top playmaker for the Flyers through his eight seasons in Philadelphia, racking up 318 assists in 541 games. He played for the Flyers until he was traded to the Dallas Stars on March 21, 1994.
On March 18, 1994 the Flyers acquired forward Rob DiMaio from the Lightning. He played the 1994-95 season wearing number 20, but switched to number 9 during the 1995-96 season. He was claimed by San Jose on waivers on September 30, 1996.
Dainius Zubrus was next to wear number 9 during his rookie season in 1996-97. He played with the Flyers for three seasons until he was part of a the trade that re-acquired Mark Recchi on March 10, 1999.
On July 28, 1999 the Flyers signed free agent forward Mark Greig. He spent most of his four season in Philly in the AHL with the Phantoms. He wore number 9 during all 30 games he played in Philly from 1999 to 2003 before he left North America to play in Germany.
During Greig’s tenure there was another player who wore number nine while he was in the AHL. The Flyers acquired Dean McAmmond from Chicago on March 13, 2001. He played 10 games as a Flyer before being traded to Calgary on June 24, 2001.
The number 9 laid dormant for two years before rookie Patrick Sharp late in the 2002-03 season before making his full-time debut in 2003-04. Sharp played in Philly until one of the worst trades in Flyers history took place on December 5, 2005 when he was trade to the Blackhawks for defenseman Matt Ellison.
A little over a year later on February 15, 2007, the Flyers acquired Scottie Upshall as part of a deal that sent Peter Forsberg to the Predators. He claimed number 9 during his two seasons as a Flyer, but was dealt to the Coyotes on March 4, 2009.
Number 9 was worn for 11 games by David Laliberte, who played all 11 games of his NHL career as a Flyer in 2010. He was traded to Anaheim on November 21, 2010.
The Number 9 went unworn for over two years before Mike Knuble made he returned to Philadelphia as a free agent on January 5, 2013 to replenish a roster ravaged by injuries and his past number, 22, was already being worn by Luke Schenn.
Knuble retired after the season and the Flyers brought back another forward at the start of the 2013-14 season in Steve Downie, who they acquired from the Avalanche in October of 2013. He played the rest of the 2013-14 season with the Flyers before leaving in free agency in the summer of 2014.
Number 9 was dormant until the start of the 2016-17 season when rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov claimed it and has worn it ever since.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: inquirer.com