May Asks for Chelios’ Sweater Number, Sparks Jersey Retirement Talk

Brad May could be switching to a new sweater number.

The enforcer was given #20 when he joined the team on a pro tryout at the end of the preseason and kept that number for his first regular season game after signing a one-year deal on Thursday. Ansar Khan reports that May has asked Chris Chelios for permission to switch to #24.

“(Chelios) was really cool,” May said. “I just figured it’s his (number). He’s such an icon, I figured I’d call him.”

“I like the number – Chris Chelios, Bob Probert. But I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I may ask, but now that I’m 20, who knows?”

May had previously worn #24 during his stint with the Anaheim Ducks.

Like May, Chelios also asked permission to wear #24. When he came to Detroit in 1999 he called the number’s previous owner – Probert – to run it by him.

George Malik asks whether or not the Wings should retire #24 for Chelios.

He mentions Brendan Shanahan‘s #14 being put back into use but Sergei Fedorov‘s #91 remaining out of circulation, as well as the #16 of Vladimir Konstantinov.

Personally, I think it’s a travesty that the #6 of Larry Aurie is not represented in the Joe Louis Arena rafters and would not raise any of those numbers before Detroit’s first real star was recognized. The Ilitch family’s refusal to honor Aurie is confusing and downright ridiculous.

At this point the only numbers I’d even think about retiring are #6 and (when the time comes) Nicklas Lidstrom‘s #5. After Aurie’s number is retired we can talk about another old-timer in Red Kelly‘s #4.

Chelios should have his number retired, just not here. Though he won two Cups and ended his career with the Red Wings (and one more Cup with Montreal) I believe he’ll always be remembered as a Blackhawk and his #7 should hang at United Center.

Shanahan and Fedorov should wait, we shouldn’t even be talking about them until they retire from playing. And as I said above, they don’t get consideration until Aurie is taken care of.

Konstantinov, as much as it pains me to say it, should not have his number permanently retired. It should remain out of circulation until all of his former teammates have left the Red Wings. Only then should it be brought back.

Author: Clark Rasmussen

Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996 with no idea what it would lead to. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development.