True North Sports and Entertainment chairman Mark Chipman appeared on Hockey Night In Canada Radio on Wednesday afternoon, and among other things, he noted that the new Winnipeg NHL franchise will keep Nos. 9 and 25 retired in the rafters of the MTS Centre.
No. 9 was retired by the Winnipeg Jets in honor of Bobby Hull in 1989, while No. 25 was retired in 1995 to honor Thomas Steen. The retired numbers relocated with the team to Phoenix and the red and white banners currently hang in the rafters of Jobing.com Arena, the home of the Coyotes.
Bobby's son Brett Hull briefly played with the Coyotes in 2005 and the team "unretired" No. 9 briefly so he could wear it.
The Coyotes also retired Dale Hawerchuk's No. 10 in 2007, long after the Jets moved to Phoenix. Hawerchuk never played a game for the Coyotes, pulling on a Winnipeg uniform for the final time in 1990. Teppo Numminen also saw his number retired by the Coyotes in 2010, but he actually played games in a Phoenix uniform.
It's a bit strange, then. The franchise relocating to Winnipeg doesn't have any ties to the old Jets-Coyotes franchise, yet those numbers are still going to be out of commission. Will Hawerchuk's No. 10 and Numminen's No. 27 be off limits, or does that not matter because they weren't retired in Winnipeg?
It's an odd situation, completely unique to the rich hockey history of Winnipeg and their still-burning love for the old Jets franchise. It might be a different team now, but we do know one thing: Evander Kane is going to need a new number.