Did you know that when Pavel Bure joined the Canucks in 1991 he actually wanted to wear #96, not #10, in honour of his arrival to North America (9/6/1991)? It’s true! Pat Quinn denied him the number at the time, saying that it was a “showboat” number. He was given #10 and things worked out pretty well anyway.
I guess Pat Quinn wasn’t very fashion forward, because choosing high numbers became all the rage in the 90s. Gretzky (#99) and Lemieux (#66) popularized it, and many notable players chose “showboat” numbers: Gilmour (#93), Fedorov (#91), Jagr (#68) and Mogilny (#89). Perhaps it was the acquisition of that showboating #89 Alex Mogilny in 1995 or the fact that the team was moving to a new home (General Motors Place) that allowed Pat Quinn to change his mind and allow Bure to choose his own number.
The move to GM Place, the trade to acquire Alex Mogilny and the superstar #96 was supposed to signal an age of “showtime” in Vancouver, but it didn’t exactly pan out. Bure was injured for most of his first season wearing #96, playing just 15 games. The next season he wasn’t himself and had “only” 55 points in 63 games.
Bure switched back to #10 for the 1997-98 season and promptly scored 51 goals. When asked about the switch back, Bure said “I’m not superstitious, but the last two seasons have been bad memories.” Oh Pavel.