Sure, he doesn’t know exactly when he’ll get to wear it, but when the Detroit Red Wings eventually take the ice for the 2011-12 NHL season – assuming there is a season and that come Saturday, NHL owners don’t lock the players out for the entire campaign like they did in 2004-05 – forward Cory Emmerton will switch sweater numbers from 48 to 25, the latter digit previously worn in Detroit by Leamington’s Darren McCarty.
“I know, now I’m going to have to start playing like him to keep that tradition going,” joked Emmerton, who has been skating with some members of the Wings and other NHL teams this week at Joe Louis Arena. “Obviously, everyone was a Grind Line fan, whoever watched them play. They were fun to watch and whatnot.
“I had the pleasure of playing with (McCarty) in Grand Rapids when he was down the one year for a while, so I got to know him as a person and as a player, too. Obviously, it’s easy for me to say that I’m a big McCarty fan as a whole.”
Emmerton became attached to No. 25 while playing for OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs. “In junior you’re a rookie again and you’ve got to pick a number of what’s left,” Emmerton said. “I wore 2 and 25 was open and I was looking for something in the 20s. I kind of became fond of it as I began to wear it and it grew on me.”
Emmerton was assigned No. 48 by the Red Wings when he first was drafted by the club in 2006. “I’ve had 48 since I was drafted, but I wore 25 when I was in junior, it’s just a number that I’m comfortable with,” Emmerton said. “I would have liked to have worn it last year, but at the time when you make the team the last thing that you’re thinking about is changing your number.
“I really didn’t think about it until things were under way. It’s kind of nice to have a number that you’re used to and that you like, so I asked Paulie (Red Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer) at the end of the year if I could switch for next year and he obviously said, ‘No problem.’ He told me that I should have asked him earlier, but I really didn’t think about it last year; I was worried about playing and other things.”
One other thing will need to change for Emmerton – his Twitter handle of @cemmer48. “Yeah, hopefully that’s easy,” he said.
Article Courtesy of the Windsor Star