I’ll be the first to admit I’m probably the last person who should say anything regarding the Dallas Stars’ new look. It’s no secret I’m not a fan of the new colors and the new logo, and now, I’m likely to spend the first third of the season just trying to remember who’s wearing what number, with very few exceptions. My happiness with the new gear continues to wane.
It’s hard enough to acclimate yourself to next year’s team when you’ve got new guys coming up from the AHL as already anticipated. It’s something completely different to see numbers you’ve associated with a specific nameplate for years no longer bearing that label. And when that nameplate means more than just a spot on a roster to a fan, it’s even harder to come to terms with.
It’s painful for me to know that my signed Nystrom jersey will now be a thing of the past, both in style and monogram, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. And to be totally honest, I’m fine with putting 91 on the back of Tyler Seguin, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of Brad Richards in his last couple seasons with Dallas, so take that as you will.
What’s truly hard to wrap my brain around is the realization that two numbers which were monumental representatives of this team, its fans and Dallas itself, will no longer be the same. Number 10 will no longer be the unspoken symbol of our beloved “C,” and 21 will no longer be one of the team’s favorite Swede’s and strongest silent leaders.
I’m not saying I think teams should hold on to numbers for the duration of an individual’s career regardless of what team they’re playing for; that’s just silly. What I am saying is that it seems unnecessarily harsh to take two of the team’s most cherished numbers and pass them out frivolously less than a year after the previous owners were left off the roster. Give the fans a chance to come to terms with, and maybe even be okay with, letting go of what was the norm for years.
And both individuals who bore those numbers deserved at least that.
A number is just a number, yes, I totally agree. But it’s when a number is associated with something more; an individual, a leader, a role model, a captain, an all-together flat-out good person; that’s when a number becomes more than just a number. And that’s what 10 and 21 were to so many Stars fans.
Wear those sweaters well Shawn Horcoff and Antoine Roussel, those simple digits on your backs mean a lot more than just a number to a lot of people.