How Mike Gartner Chose the No. 11 For the Capitals

Photo: @Capitals

The NHL recently interviewed many of the League’s former greats, asking them how they chose the jersey number they are most famously known for. The first series included Mike Gartner, Capitals great for ten years, from 1979 to 1989.

Gartner, like many hockey players from his era, idolized Gordie Howe growing up and wore the number 9 in his junior hockey days. However, after being drafted by the Capitals, it would be a Buffalo Sabre that influenced his decision to don a new number.

Video: NHL

Gartner was drafted in the first round, 4th overall, by the Washington Capitals in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. He began his professional career in the WHA as an underager with the Cincinnati Stingers in 1978–79 where he played on a line with Mark Messier. Gartner would finish second to Wayne Gretzky for Rookie-of-the-Year honors.

The Capitals retired Mike Gartner’s No. 11 jersey on December 28, 2008 prior to a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His passion for the Caps has grown over the decades, which has included time as a season ticket holder, social media and community organizer, and most recently led to the founding of NoVa Caps in 2014. Jon earned a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering at Old Dominion University, and is a Systems Engineer during intermissions, which has been instrumental in supporting his Capitals habit.
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