November 28, 2022

Marc-Edouard Vlasic is by far the oldest player in the Sharks locker room.

San Jose drafted Vlasic in 2005. He is approaching 1,200 career NHL games. He’s the only guy on the roster who played with current general manager Mike Grier when he was a member of the Sharks.

Vlasic wore the same jersey number, no. 44, for all 1,175 NHL games. Only two players have worn No. 44 in more than Vlasic’s 17 seasons – Dave Babych, who wore it for 20 seasons with five different clubs, and Stephane Richer, who wore it for 18 years with four different teams.

So it’s pretty funny to go to the corner of the Sharks locker room where Vlasic sits and see the guy who washes with him every day.

Radim Simek, seated directly to Vlasic’s right, has the number 44 tattooed on his arm. It’s also part of Instagram’s handle.

“I wore it when I was in the Czech league and it was my favorite, so I put it on my arm,” Simek said, noting it was a nod to his father.

Jaycob Megna overheard the conversation and claimed that Simek “has been trying to buy him from Pickles (Vlasic) for years, but the price just keeps going up.”

For the record, Simek said he didn’t actually try to buy the number from Vlasic. He’s also not the only player in the San Jose gym who has a number that he’s just been given and grown to like.

But there are plenty of other interesting stories behind why each member of the Sharks wears their number. So The Athletic asked everyone to tell us about it.

I’ve worn it most of my life. Bobby Orr was my father’s favorite player. So when I was 10 years old and dialing my number for the first time, you dial your dad’s favorite number, right? I kind of kept up with her when I could. When I signed the PTO here, they asked me if I wanted to keep it, so I didn’t think too deeply about it.

I do not know. That’s a good question. I think that’s a pretty typical D number. Growing up I was always 4 or 5. My first year in Edmonton, someone had a 4 and someone had a 5, so I kept my camp number, which was 83. When I got to Nashville, (Ryan) Ellis was wearing a 4 so I just asked if the 5 was available and took it. I just always liked it and went from there.

I was 17 in college, but when I got to Minnesota, (Marcus) Foligno got him. My younger and older siblings used to wear #7 as kids, so it was an easy change. When we got to Colorado, 7 was taken (by Devon Toews). I was traded to Tyson Jost, who was wearing #17, so I didn’t want to just take his number. No. The 77 is retired there (for Ray Bourque) so it was actually my brother’s idea to go with the 78. That’s the year my hometown team (Augsburger) was founded, 1878.

When I came here, 7 was open, so I definitely wanted to go back to it. I just love the single digit look.

When I was a kid, I was number 10. My options (here) … there were no crazy amazing options that I liked, but number 10 was available, so I was like, “OK, let me go back to the youth. times.” It was my first number, so I was probably like 5. I wore it from 5 until I was 11 or 12.

My fiancee’s brother, who passed, had #11, so I’m wearing it for him. I wore it to the world championships and always liked the number, but it’s cool to have a special meaning behind it.

Note: Kunin’s fiancee is Sophia Shaver, a professional hockey player with the PWHPA. Her brother Drake committed suicide in October 2016.

I was number 3 in high school at a public school and then number 11 at prep school. When I got to (Boston University), I think around that time I became a pretty big fan of (Pavel) Datsyuk, so I combined them and went with 13. I was lucky enough that 13 was open at every NHL. the team I played for.

Note: Bonino began his NHL career with No. 63 for Anaheim, but eventually wore 13 for the Ducks and each of the six clubs he played for.

There are a few reasons why I went with this one this year. I wore it in juniors. I didn’t really pick a number from minor hockey. It always kind of gave me, but I liked 16 when I wore it. It’s my dad’s favorite number (he was born on December 16).

I wore 13 when I was a kid, but obviously Bones (Nick Bonino) has that one, so I wasn’t going to go in and take that from him. My friend Nick Spaling wore #16 for the Sharks a few years ago when they went to the Stanley Cup Finals. I trained with him (in Waterloo, Ontario) before I was even in juniors. I was just a seventh round pick with Carolina and he was an NHL player with the Sharks and he kind of took me under his wing. He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t know if I would even make it to the juniors, let alone the NHL. But he was so great to me and he wore 16 here.

My father (Johan) used it all his life. He played a lot in the second or third league at home. I used to think it was pretty cool that he used it, so that’s why I wanted it. As soon as I was able to choose my own number, I got it. I think it’s just for him. I wanted to show my appreciation for him. He showed me how to play hockey and I can’t thank him enough.

Jacob Megna, no. 24

The short answer? Because of Kobe (Bryant). I used to wear No. 8 as a kid growing up because of Kobe. When I turned pro, I was with Anaheim in Norfolk. No. 8 was retired by the entire organization because of Teemu Selanne. Teemu never played in Norfolk so not sure why he applied there. But I switched to 24, because of Kobe, and I’ve been with him ever since.

It’s what the Sharks gave me. When I was 18 years old in the under-20s (the world junior champion), at the beginning of the summer we had a training camp and we had to pick numbers. I was the youngest or second youngest guy, so I had to pick last. There aren’t many numbers left, but I thought 28 looked good. So I wore 28 on the national team and the Sharks saw me at the world juniors. When they picked me, they gave me 28. I actually tried to go back to my junior number (96, because he was born in 1996), but they said, “No, we want you in 28 ”, so it stuck and I just went with it.

That was the first number I was ever given at hockey school. I think I was 6 years old when I first started hockey and got my jersey numbers. They gave me 36 so I always tried to keep it whenever I could. In Minnesota, (Mats) Zuccarello had it, so I wasn’t going to ask him. Someone else had it in the American League, too, so I wore 34 for a while. I’ve had 36 for most of my life, so it felt natural to go back to that.

The team chose it for me. Sorry, nothing interesting behind that. I was 77 when I was really young, but I was also 5 and then 10 at one point. I kind of went back and forth. I’ve never really been superstitious about it.

It was given to me in camp. Back then, you had to keep the number for the whole year, so I couldn’t change it until my second year. Then in the third year I traded for Martin Havlat and he wore number 9 so I decided to stick with 39 for good. I also really liked “The Dominator” (Dominik Hasek) as a kid .

It was the number I was given. I usually wore 21 when I was younger. That’s how I played in the juniors and in the AHL.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, no. 44

I always liked this number. I picked him in juniors, and then he was available when I got here. He wasn’t available when they drafted me, but (Christian) Ehrhoff wanted to move to number 10, so my first year he was available. It’s not because of a particular player or anything. I just always loved it. So it was pretty simple.

I’ve always worn #34 my whole career, but when I got to Carolina, (Petr) Mrazek was 34. I had to change my number, so I went with 47 because that’s what I was given when I was playing in the East. South Carolina Coastal League. I was traded to South Carolina (from Reading) on ​​the East Coast, so I showed up in South Carolina and 47 was in my stall. So I thought, you know what, I’m going back to Carolina (with the Hurricanes), so let’s throw 47 there again. And when we got here, we said let’s keep going and see what happens. I still have #34 on my skates to remind me of the old days.

I kind of got it the first year when I get here. It was my camp number. They actually asked me if I wanted to change it, but I never did. He brought me a lot of luck in my first year, even with the injury. I liked it immediately. Nobody really has it in the NHL. We had a lot of numbers in Prague, but not many players were 48 at the time. It was (Danny) Brière, but he was almost done playing. It was great to be able to make it my own number.

Radim Simek, no. 51

My first year, they gave me 51 and I just keep it.

This was the number I was given. I’ve always worn 12 my whole life, but I think Patty (Marleau) beat me. I think I should have negotiated my health (take 12 from him). He was 62 years old and he just stuck with me and I never looked back. Six times two is 12, so I see for myself.

Both my parents were born that year. This is what I’ve been wearing since my first pro year in Sweden when I got to pick it for the first time. Growing up, I only had 1 to… 31, I think, so I wore a bunch of different numbers over the years, but once I got down to choosing, that was my number.

Camp number when I was 17. No back story. I think it looks pretty good so I’ll stick with it. I wore 22 until my senior year in juniors (switched to #18 with Prince Albert). Twenty-two was always my number and then when I got here it was 73.

There’s not really a cool story behind it. Only my rookie camp number was assigned to me. After my freshman year they asked me if I wanted to switch, but not many guys had it in the league and I thought it was cool and unique so I stuck with it. It’s not really a number that gets picked up anywhere, so when I was in Colorado it was available, and when I got back here it was still available.

When I was young, I have the number 8 until I was 15, but when I came to the MHL (Russian junior league) with SKA-1946, I used the date of birth, 94, and I don’t change it. It worked for me.

Note: Barabanov was born on June 17, 1994, which if that date sounds familiar… ESPN did a 30 for 30 documentary about him.

(Photo: Jari Pestelacci / Eurasia Sport Images / Getty Images)

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