The first team to retire a number were the Toronto Maple Leafs, who retired Ace Bailey's #6 on February 14, 1934, prior to an All-Star game in his honor.
There are currently 96 retired numbers in the NHL. There are also 15 "honored numbers," all issued by the Toronto Maple Leafs. A further 7 numbers were retired, by the Hartford Whalers and Quebec Nordiques, but upon the relocation of the two teams the numbers were put back into circulation. By comparison, the Phoenix Coyotes continue to honor the numbers retired when the franchise was the Winnipeg Jets.
Only one number has been retired league-wide. Upon the retirement of Wayne Gretzky, it was announced that no other player would again wear his number, 99. The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings have also separately retired Gretzky's number. In addition, the number 66 used by Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins had not been worn by any player in the league since his retirement and was generally considered to be 'unofficially retired' until T. J. Brodie began wearing it for the Calgary Flames during the 2010-2011 season.
· 8 years ago