Detroit Red Wings goaltender Eric Comrie will be starting for the first time as a member of the team tonight when they take the ice against his former Winnipeg Jets teammates.
Fans will be quick to notice that Comrie dons the No. 34, whom past Red Wings goaltenders Petr Mrazek and Manny Legace have worn. But there's a certain different jersey number Comrie would have preferred.
Unfortunately for him, now being a member of the Red Wings, that jersey number is off limits.
Comrie had worn No. 1 with the Jets and Arizona Coyotes, but that forever belongs to the legendary Terry Sawchuk. The Red Wings enshrined it in the rafters at Joe Louis Arena in 1994, and his retired jersey banner now hangs at Little Caesars Arena.
"My first thought was, ugh, I don't get my number!" he explained. "I lose my number! But that's kind of cool, it's in the rafters. Terry Sawchuk, arguably one of the greatest goalies of all time."
So, what to do?
Despite being from Edmonton, Comrie was a fan of Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who became known as one of the NHL's top goaltenders during his career. When the Red Wings offered him No. 34, it seemed like a fitting tribute to "Kipper".
"Honestly, it's the number they offered me," he said. "And you know what? I kind of liked Miikka Kiprusoff growing up too, even though I'm an Edmonton guy.
"That's kind of controversial, sorry guys!" he said with a laugh. Of course, it very well may be controversial in Alberta, as the Flames and Oilers are bitter rivals.
Here's hoping that the debut of the latest Red Wings goaltender to wear No. 34 is a good one!