Adam Pelech and Scott Mayfield
Spencer Hazen, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The Lou Lamoriello culture change continues for the New York Islanders as players change their numbers ahead of training camp.

As president of hockey operations and general manager, Lou Lamoriello can not only wheel and deal with the best of them, he can also change the culture of an organization.

This summer, Lamoriello has done just that, bringing in a very well respected coaching staff highlighted by head coach Barry Trotz and adding grit to the New York Islanders roster. Lamoriello also brings with him some interesting rules that aren’t seen too often around the NHL. These include players being cleanly shaven, and making players wear lower numbers, typically below the 30s.

There is no official reasoning behind the lower number preference but according to a story by Mike Stromberg of All About The Jersey in 2015,

“The thinking behind keeping everyone’s numbers low is ostensibly to keep people focused on the name on the front of the jersey rather than the back, which is definitely a reflection of Lou’s philosophy.

And so as players have been landing back on Long Island for informal skates with training camp fastly approaching (Sep. 13), Arthur Staple of The Athletic has noticed a few new numbers on helmets.


Since his debut on Nov. 13, 2015, Adam Pelech has always worn the number 50 at the NHL level. Last year was his first full season with the big club and in 78 games, the 24-year-old scored three goals and 19 points. As training camp nears, Pelech has been seen wearing the number three on his helmet, last worn by Travis Hamonic who now wears number 24 with the Calgary Flames.

Scott Mayfield, who also just finished his first full NHL season, was also spotted wearing a different number. Mayfield has flipped his number 42 into number 24 last worn by Stephen Gionta during the 2016-17 season. Mayfield has five goals and 22 points in 83 NHL games and is entering the first year of a five-year deal signed in January worth $7.25 million.

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Jan Kovar, the Islanders new point-per-game center from the KHL, hasn’t exactly changed his number but for most of his career, he has worn number 43. While 43 is technically available (last worn by Michael Halmo during the 2013-14 season), under Lamoriello it might not have been an option. With that, Kovar will take number 10, last worn by Alan Quine this past season. After the Islanders did not extend the restricted free agent a qualifying offer, Quine signed a two-way deal with the Flames organization.

It is expected that veterans like Johnny Boychuk (number 55) and Valtteri Filppula (number 51) will retain their higher numbers but don’t expect the same treatment for Anthony Beauvillier (number 72) and Josh Ho-Sang (number 66).

Beauvillier wore number 91 in juniors but couldn’t take that number for obvious reasons. Beauvillier isn’t back on Long Island yet so we wait to see what number he will wear this season.

Ho-Sang has worn the number 66 for most of his life which sparked controversy once he wore it at the NHL level as some saw it as disrespectful to Pittsburgh Penguins legend Mario Lemieux even though Ho-Sang said it was out of respect for Lemieux, Lemieux was okay with it, and the number isn’t retired league-wide.

Anyways, Ho-Sang has worn number 26 with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and was seen wearing that number at development camp in June so that’s most likely the number Ho-Sang will rep this season, last worn by Tyler Kennedy during the 2014-15 season.

We wait to see if anyone else has to change their numbers. Some potential candidates are Robin Lehner (number 40) and Ross Johnston (number 52).

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