Habs to retire all jersey numbers under 99; will force players to wear three-digit numbers

The Elbow staff 

 The Bell Centre rafters are about to get a whole lot busier over the next few seasons.  Source

The Bell Centre rafters are about to get a whole lot busier over the next few seasons. Source

MONTREAL, QC – With eight numbers to retired by the Canadiens this season, GM Marc Bergevin announced on Sunday that every current player will be made to choose a three-digit jersey number for the first time in franchise history. 

The change will be implemented over the next few seasons, in order to give the team enough Saturday evenings to retire all the numbers

"In our quest to retire the number of every single player to have worn the bleu, blanc et rouge, we've realized that we might be running short on some of the more traditional double-digit numbers," Bergevin told reporters.

"So we're going to mandate that every new player choose a number over 100 to wear from next season onwards, and all existing players will be forced to make the change by 2020."

Bergevin said that the rule will allow the front office to expedite the retiring of every jersey number from 1-98 that hasn't already been raised to the rafters.

The numbers that have not been worn by any players (50, 69, 87, 92, 96-98), will be up for grabs to some of the more senior players on the team.

Jerseys that have been worn by multiple players will be assigned to the player deemed most worthy of being raised to the rafters. Bergevin confirmed that number 76 will be retired with Jozef Balej's name.