When the Atlanta Thrashers relocated and were formally rechristened as the Winnipeg Jets (Version 2.0), there were going to be odd little conundrums that popped up from time to time about the franchise's hockey legacy.
After all, the former Winnipeg Jets are the current Phoenix Coyotes, who honor their former incarnation's team records and retired numbers. That includes having No. 9 out of circulation for the legendary Bobby Hull, whose number was retired by the Jets in February 1989 in honor of his nine seasons with the Jets in the WHA and NHL.
So, to summarize: Bobby Hull was a star for the Winnipeg Jets but not for the current Winnipeg Jets, but the current Winnipeg Jets have shown a desire to connect with the previous franchise's hockey heritage in the city, of which Bobby Hull played a major part.
Kane played two seasons with the Thrashers wearing No. 9, and is currently listed as No. 9 on the Winnipeg Jets roster. (An aside: Please tell us we're not the last people on Earth to get the K-9 reference on his sweater name/number combo. Please?)
Kane would like to wear that number with the Jets, but understands its legendary history with Hull. So according to the Vancouver Province, Kane plans to make sure Hull is cool with someone else wearing No. 9 on a Winnipeg Jets sweater, seeking out his blessing:
"It's almost like asking a father for his daughter's hand in marriage," says Kane, who plans to speak to Bobby Hull about wearing No. 9, the sweater the Golden Jet made famous in Winnipeg and had retired by the previous incarnation of the team.
"I've read somewhere on Twitter that he had done an interview and said that he wanted me to wear it proudly. I don't know if that's true or not. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to speak to him soon. If he doesn't have an issue with me wearing it, I'll do my best on and off to live up to wearing that number. If I have to change, I'll change."
Kane said he'd change to No. 19 if Hull would prefer to keep No. 9 "retired" with Jets 2.0. No word if he'll need to get Brian Mullen or Nelson Emerson's permission first.
This is the kind of issue that arises when one decides to extend a previous brand instead of starting a new one. Just imagine how confusing things will be next year when the former Winnipeg Jets become the former Phoenix Coyotes as they turn into the second-coming of the Quebec Nordiques. OMG!
s/t to reader Eric Kochanski.
UPDATE: Scott Brown of True North clarifies something that evidently needed clarification:
Did anyone think that the Winnipeg Jets would be retiring numbers that belong to players in the Phoenix Coyotes' franchise? No? Good.