Throughout the Capitals’ 42 years in existence, they’ve issued a total of 87 different jersey numbers to the hundreds of players that have suited up in the District. In NoVa Caps’ brand new feature, History Behind A Number, NoVa Caps’ writer Michael Fleetwood looks at a few notable players that have worn a given number. Today’s number: 7.
In the history of the team, only one man has ever worn No. 7 on his sweater, former captain Yvon Labre. Selected by the Capitals in the 1974 Expansion Draft, Labre spent seven seasons in Washington, serving as captain for two and a half of them. A former fourth-round pick (38th overall in the 1969 NHL Amateur Draft) by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Labre scored the very first home goal in franchise history at the Capital Centre, doing so against Rogie Vachon of the Los Angeles Kings.
Never known as an offensively-gifted blueliner, Labre did manage to record back-to-back seasons of 20-plus points (27 in 1974-75 and 22 in 1975-76). During his time in D.C., Labre was instrumental in shutting the opposition down. He was also heavily involved in the community and continues to participate in charity events with the organization.
Labre was not only a great person off the ice, but he was heavily respected by teammates and opponents alike. As captain, he led by example and played sound defense, finishing his seven-year Capitals career with 12.8 defensive point shares (the number of points a player contributes due to his defense). Labre retired after the 1980-81 season, finishing his career in Washington having played 334 of his 371 NHL games in the Red, White, and Blue and amassing 12 goals, 84 assists, and 96 points. After retiring, Labre served in a number of roles with the Caps, including Assistant Coach, color commentator, scout, and most recently, Director of Community Relations.
As a result of his dedication and hard work for the team, Labre became the first player in franchise history to have his number retired, as the Caps raised his No. 7 to the rafters on November 22, 1981. He is one of only four former Capitals to have their number retired. While his playing days are long behind him, Labre’s love for the game of hockey and the Washington Capitals has stayed with him to this day. He has been involved in a number of Capitals alumni events, including the 2011 Winter Classic Alumni game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, autograph signings, and the former Capitals Convention.
Check out NoVa Caps’ other Number History Features:
By Michael Fleetwood