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Taylor Hall To Wear Number 9 For New Jersey Devils




New Jersey Devils forward Taylor Hall will be wearing the number nine as he begins the next chapter of his National Hockey League career in Newark, New Jersey.

For the six seasons in Edmonton, Hall donned the number four on the back of his sweater, but after the Devils acquired him from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson on June 29, he knew he would have to wear a new number.

In New Jersey, the number four is hanging from the rafters, honoring Hall of Fame defenseman and Devils longtime captain, Scott Stevens. On the team’s website Hall said, “Obviously, the number four is retired here. But even if it was not, I am not sure I would have kept the number four. In choosing number nine, I am looking for a fresh start.”

The 24-year-old left winger, scored 26 goals and 39 assists in 82 games for the Oilers during the 2015-2016 NHL season. The number pick of the Oilers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has scored 20 or more goals in a season in four out of his six years in the league. In 381 NHL games, he has put up 132 goals and 196 assists.

Hall added, “There have been a lot of great players that have worn the number nine and I want to add to that list. I think in sports you can get too caught up in trying to prove people wrong or that you deserve something and it ends up taking away from the player that you are. I am not going to change that in anything in that way. But I am looking forward to a fresh start and an exciting opportunity in New Jersey.”

Hall mentioned that when his family moved from Calgary, Alberta to Kingston, Ontario, he had joined a team that had been together for several years. He had thought about asking for number nine, but since it had already been assigned to another player, he chose number four.

He said, “I originally wanted number nine because I just thought it was a cool number. You always saw a lot of skilled guys wearing it, a lot of guys that score goals and play a little bit fancier.”

He added, “And if you look down the line, you will see so many amazing players who have worn number nine, including within the Devils organization. It was a number that was kind of flashy. And when you are a young kid playing hockey, that is what you are going for.”

On choosing the number four he wore with the Oilers, Hall said, “My mom was a huge Bobby Orr fan and I just stuck with [number four] through Windsor [of the Ontario Hockey League] and in Edmonton because it was always available.”

The last 30 goal scorer to wear number nine in New Jersey, was Zach Parise. Parise scored 30 or more goal in five of the seven seasons he skated for the Devils. The Devils first team captain, Don Lever wore the number nine on his sweater as well.

With Parise, Lever and Kirk Muller all having served as Devils captains, while wearing the number nine, Hall may one day be able to join those three, receiving that honor.

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