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9 VHLers wearing retired jersey #s [Final 6/6]

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Who watches the retired jerseys?


An odd thing happened with my former player, Seattle Bears defenseman Karsten Olsen: I realized sometime in the middle of his 7.5-season stay with the franchise that his number was totally invalid. The number 8, which I had chosen upon my entry to the VHL, was actually formerly the jersey number of Alexander Beketov, and it had been retired for almost 15 seasons by the time I was drafted to the Bears. Promptly, Olsen changed his number to the safe 82.


Luckily, Hans Wingate’s 6 is free for the Wranglers, but in light of remembering this—and Remy LeBeau’s jersey retirement for Toronto, it got me thinking: Which other current VHL players are actually wearing retired jerseys? I thought it had to be likely there were at least a few. And after doing a little research, I found that New York and Riga should probably be scrambling.


:cal: Calgary Wranglers

Retired Numbers: 7, 10, 13, 17, 18, 24, 49, 78

Offending Players: None


The Calgary Wranglers currently only have five players on the active roster, and despite having three players with single digit numbers, none are currently offenders of the team’s retired numbers. Oddly enough, Marcus Hurley may be the only player in Calgary history with the number “00,” but he’s not the only one in the VHL: Stockholm’s Jody 3 Moons also features the number.


:nya: New York Americans

Retired Numbers: 3, 8, 10, 14, 15, 17, 39, 40

Offending Players: Mario De Rossi (14), Jax Barnstormer (15), Nicolas Caprivi (17)


While the Americans only have eight numbers retired and only nine players on its roster, the team somehow managed to have a full one-third of its squad wearing retired numbers. That’s impressive. While all three players are recent additions to the team, which somewhat excuses the behavior, Jax Barnstomer’s No. 15 is particularly egregious—the number belonged to Daniel Braxton, who you may also remember was from Barnstormer’s exact same agency.


:que: Quebec City Meute

Retired Numbers: 5

Offending Players: None


Given that Quebec has retired exactly one number in the team’s history, and that being of former GM Alexander Valiq, it’s not exactly surprising that nobody has duplicated his number. Whether Quebec goes for it all for another season or decides to rebuild, it’s not likely that anyone will request number 5 in the near future, either.


:sea: Seattle Bears

Retired Numbers: 8, 9, 31, 58, 60, 88, 92, 94

Offending Players: None


The inspiration for this article in the first place, the Bears don’t have any current offenders of the numbers in the rafters. That could be because of a good job of policing from the franchise, but it could also be because of a particularly eclectic set of retired numbers. The team has not retired a single number since Peters retired in Season 31 (what, no love for all-time fights leader Karsten Olsen?), although that could change if Seattle comes back to win this championship.


:tor: Toronto Legion

Retired Numbers: 1, 14, 26, 32, 39

Offending Players: None


For a team with such a storied history as Toronto, it’s odd to see the franchise with almost half as many retired numbers as the rest of the VHL’s Original 8. That could be because now-former GM Edgar’s disdain for the tactic; Remy LeBeau’s omission from a having his jersey retired was almost criminal. Thankfully, though, Toronto doesn’t have to do any more work than it has to with no players offending the five retired numbers.


:col: Cologne Express

Retired Numbers: 19

Offending Players: None


Similar to Quebec, the Season 31 expansion Express only have one number to take care of, and it’s easier to do so when Kendrick was a part of the franchise between its inception and Mason Richardson’s Season 43 trade to Davos. Unlike Quebec, however, it’s also possible that more numbers could be joining Taylor’s 19 soon, especially if the Express are able to finish off the Bears in the finals. Thomas O’Malley or Martin Brookside, perhaps?


:dav: HC Davos Dynamo

Retired Numbers: 10, 11, 12, 14, 24, 51, 60, 79

Offending Players: None


Davos has knocked out almost every number between 10 and 14, but even with Mason Richardson’s 15 just missing out, the Dynamo are safe from ridicule here. Interestingly enough, they wouldn’t have been if this list was made last season: AIM-11’s number 11 was once featured by late 20’s, early 30’s Dynamo star forward Phil Rafter.


:hel: Helsinki Titans

Retired Numbers: 6, 8, 9, 16, 17, 20, 31, 41, 49, 91

Offending Players: Oskars Harumpf (17)


Despite a wide variety of numbers being retired for Helsinki, only one player actually chose a number that the team has deemed out of bounds. Unfortunately, though, that one player also happens to be the Titan’s lone remaining star and lone remaining active player: Oskars Harumpf. Harumpf shares No. 17 with former right winger Daric Radmonovic, a star on the team between Seasons 3 and 7 and a former Top Executive winner in his GM capacity in Season 6. Harumpf and Draper can be forgiven for this oversight.


:rig: Riga Reign

Retired Numbers: 2, 5, 13, 14, 31, 32, 51, 53, 54, 77, 95

Offending Players: Jakob Ackerman (5), Griffin Simons (5), Koji Yamazaki (77)


To me, the Reign are the worst offenders on the list. Not only does the team have three players wearing retired numbers (albeit from an admittedly long list), but two of those players are wearing the same retired number. I have to wonder what happened in the locker room for the equipment manager to simply say “Fuck it” and give two guys the same number. I guess that’s one way to honor long-since retired defenseman Torsten Schwarz.


:sto: Stockholm Vikings

Retired Numbers: 7, 33, 41, 74, 89, 91, 92, 94

Offending Players: Blake Campbell (33), Jack Kowalski (74)


Stockholm wins the award for most random numbers that are duplicated. Campbell’s 33 is somewhat defensible—double numbers are common among sports players, particularly 33, and former goalie Matthew Pogge of Vasteras has not worn the number since Season 4. Jack Kowalski’s 74, though, is a bit more odd. Not only does nobody typically wear the number, but the former Vasteras player who did, R.J. Stafford, is perhaps the most famous single player in franchise history.

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I'd been wearing number 10 all this time thinking it gave me the best chance of picking up illegal equipment penalties.


Turns out I should have been wearing 14 all this time.

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Content: 3/3 - Interesting read.  It's neat to see whose actually wearing a retired jersey number on every team. Second week in a row you've written an interesting media spot. 

Grammar: 2/2 - 
Jack Kowalski’s 74, though, is a bit more odd.  = Jack Kowalski's 74, though is a bit weird. (Not sure what the right way to write this. more odd was just really odd to read. 

Appearance: 1/1 - Yup, Nice colors and such. 

Overall: 6/6

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