Oilers’ forward Nail Yakupov has decided not to switch numbers and will instead continue to rock the number 64 this season according to Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal (via Twitter).
Yakupov grew up idolizing Russian superstar Pavel Bure who was notorious for the number 10 as he was for his electrifying speed and goal scoring abilities. When Yakupov broke on to the NHL scene with the Oilers last year the visions of honoring Bure by wearing the same number was blocked by then Oilers’ captain Shawn Horcoff.
We’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy and Horcoff is no longer in Edmonton. There has been speculation that with the number 10 now being available that Yakupov would make the transition to fulfill his childhood dream of having the same number as his idol on the back of his sweater.
Alas, this is not the case and as Ireland tweeted, Yakupov wants to make his own legacy in the NHL while respecting his former captain.
Nail Yakupov will continue to wear 64 in deference to Shawn Horcoff, who was with #oilers for so long. Also wants to carve out own identity.
— Joanne Ireland (@jirelandEJ) September 13, 2013
It’s safe to say that Yakupov is already “carving out his own identity” that started last year with his wild celebrations and clutch goals.
A mature and classy move by a young player who will, for Oilers fans, hopefully score goals to the pace that Pavel Bure did. Only this time, it’ll be against the Canucks.