Power forward David Clarkson, the Maple Leafs’ prized off-season acquisition, said that there is absolutely no way he would wear jersey 17, the number worn by the Toronto-area native’s childhood hero, Leafs icon Wendel Clark.
“Couldn’t do that. I couldn’t live up to what he had done,” Clarkson told reporters Thursday. “To me, it was a childhood thing. But no, that’s not in the equation.”
What is in the equation is the flipping of Clark’s number 17.
The Clark-Clarkson comparisons won’t end anytime soon, Leafs Nation. The younger, already tagged with the incumbent nicknames “Clark’s Son” or “Wendel Clarkson,” will also wear a 1 and and 7 on his back, the team announced Friday.
The news of the chosen number jersey number was “leaked” earlier in the day by a photo tweeted out by Real Sports Apparel:
By choosing 71, Clarkson will be mirroring his hero.
“It’s all good,” Clark told reporters Thursday of the parallels between the two tough Leafs forwards. “Any time you can bring energy to the team, it’s not just about scoring and everything. It takes all types of players, so when you can bring different personalities in and lead-by-example guys and bring energy to the building, that’s the fun part.”
Clarkson previously wore No. 23 for the New Jersey Devils, but defenceman Ryan O’Byrne already sports 23 for the Leafs.