Earlier this week, Juraj Slafkovsky was given the No. 20 as his new number with the Montreal Canadiens, a classy gesture from defenceman Chris Wideman who wore the number last season.
According to a piece produced by the Montreal Canadiens, Wideman took it upon himself to reach out to the Canadiens equipment team and stated that he wanted Slafkovsky to have his favourite number. Wideman explained to the Canadiens’ Matt Cudzinowski that he wanted to do the veteran thing and make sure Slafkovsky felt welcome within the organization.
“First and foremost, we’re trying to create an environment and a culture where he feels welcome with the team,” Wideman told the Canadiens’ website about switching his number for next season. “He’s a young guy, and I wanted to make sure that he knows that we’re excited to have him and we’re going to make it a place where he can reach his potential and become a really good player in this League.”
For Juraj Slafkovsky, it came as a shock. He learned about the number change the same way we all did when the Montreal Canadiens made the announcement on Twitter on July 22. For the 18-year-old, it was a moment of pure joy.
“I just checked my phone and I saw the picture on Instagram. It was unbelievable,” said Slafkovsky to the Canadiens website on the shock of getting his preferred number so soon in his career. “It’s really special. It’s not always like that when you come to the NHL and you’re young. You don’t always get your number. When I saw that he gave it to me, I was like, ‘Wow!’ It’s just another great thing.”
After giving Slafkovsky his No. 20, Chris Wideman chose the No. 6 as his own, after it was vacated due to the trading of Shea Weber this summer to the Vegas Golden Knights. It was a classy, veteran gesture from Wideman that Slafkovsky won’t soon forget.