Nicklas Backstrom’s New KHL Number is 69

Graphic by Ian Oland.

Sad news, you guys. Nicklas Backstrom has decided to change his Dynamo Moscow jersey number to 69.

Magnus Nystrom of, first to detail the news, explains that Backstrom never wanted Gretzky’s holy number to begin with and had to work hard to change it.

Here’s Nystrom, as translated by friend-of-the-blog Jacob Ware:

Nicklas Bäckström did not want to have number 99 for Dynamo Moscow, which he made clear before his KHL debut, but still has it [three games into his tenure]. The KHL has managed to mess up despite personal visits from Dynamo Moscow delegations. But, finally, Bäckström has been promised that he can change number after the national team break. Permission will have been acquired, signatures will be correct, and all the stamps will be in the right place. Nobody loves stamps like Russia. Whatever, soon Bäckström will be rid of number 99, and after Karjala Cup he will be Nicklas Bäckström, number 69.

Backstrom will play one more game with #99 on his back — Friday against Spartak — before retiring it for good. After the KHL takes a week-long break for national team competition held between November 5th and 13th, Backstrom will debut his new number against Vityaz on November 14th. So you guys should probably buy those #99 jerseys now.

Dunno about the KHL, but in the NHL #69 is sacrosanct. Only Mel “The Mangler” Angelstad wore it temporarily for the Caps. San Jose’s Andrew Desjardins is rocking it now. What’s the deal? Why do people avoid the number?

There’s a joke here somewhere, but I just can’t put my finger on it…

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