Mostly bit players bore this pair of digits, along with an NHL standout who chose to end his career in Colorado. Will that influence your decision of Who Wore It Best?
Rich Brennan: D 1996-1997, 2GP, 0-0-0, 0PIM
Drafted in the third round by the Quebec Nordiques in 1991, Brennan committed to Boston University for the next four seasons. In 1992, he made the US team in the World Jr Championship. Then in the 93-94 season Rich earned both Hockey East and NCAA East All-Star Team honors. This kid just kept getting better.
After graduating from Boston, Brennan entered the AHL world with the new Colorado Avalanche. He continued to wow the front office scoring 56 points in the 96-97 season with the Hershey Bears. Then tragedy struck: he was called up to NHL.
Brennan’s two games for the Avs went nowhere. He was traded to San Jose for the next season. He again put up stellar numbers in the AHL but couldn’t quite make the jump to the NHL level. Rich ended up plying his trade for the Rangers, Kings, Predators, and Bruins before making the jump to the Euro leagues.
Jeff Buchanan: D 1998-1999, 6GP, 0-0-0, 6PIM
Buchanan started his NHL career as an undrafted free agent. Tampa Bay signed him to begin the 1992-93 season, tucked him into their affiliate team and promptly forgot about him. The lightening traded Jeff to the Blackhawks in February of 1995.
Unable to crack the roster in Chicago, Buchanan remained in the developmental league until he hit free agency in 1998. The Avalanche were willing to take a chance on Jeff, but after six games sent him down to the Hershey Bears. He retired at the end of that season.
Dale Hunter: C 1998-1999, 21GP, 3-7-10, 45PIM
Wait, Dale Hunter played for the Avs? THAT Dale Hunter?
You’ll be forgiven if Hunter’s association with Colorado may have slipped your mind since his tenure was quite brief. In the twilight of a highly successful career – the Capitals retired his number, Washington traded him to Colorado at the trade deadline in 1999. He played twelve regular season games and nineteen playoff games. The Avs eventually lost to the Stars in the Western Conference Final. Hunter retired after the season.
Colorado already had some connection to Hunter. Dale was selected 41st in the 1979 draft by none other than the Quebec Nordiques. Known as the La Petite Pest, He was a favorite of both fans and teammates alike. While with Quebec Hunter never racked up less than 200 penalty minutes, played nearly every game over five seasons, and still scored at nearly a point per game. Dale was the ultimate agitator: feisty, durable, and skilled.
Early in 1987 Quebec traded Hunter and goaltender Clint Malarchuck to the Washington Capitals in exchange for the Cap’s 1987 first round pick and a couple of role players (Gaetan Duchesne and Alan Haworth). The Nordiques then used that draft selection on Joe Sakic.
After eleven seasons with the Capitals, Hunter’s arrival in Colorado was an homecoming of sorts and allowed him to retire with the team that originally drafted him. With Dale, the Avs formed the pestiest of pest lines, playing him along side of Claude Lemieux and Theo Fleury.
Hunter went on to a successful coaching career with the London Knights of the OHL and the Washington Capitals.
Riku Hahl: C 2001-2004, 126GP, 7-12-19, 42PIM
Colorado chose Hahl with their final pick in the seventh round (183rd) of the 1999 draft. On contract at the time with HPK in Hammelinna, Finland, Riku came to Denver for training camp in 2000 and promptly given a three-year contract. He split his time between Colorado and the Hershey Bears never quite gaining a permanent roster spot.
When the lockout disrupted the 2004 season, Hahl returned to Finland. He continues to play among the various elite Euro leagues.
Kevin Porter: C 2009-2010 (#32), 2010-2012 (#12), 129GP, 20-15-35, 44PIM
The third round choice of the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2004 draft, Porter elected to play with the University of Michigan during his developmental years. He eventually earned the Hobey Baker Award from the NCAA. During his tenure at UMich, Kevin was second in scoring only behind scoring-machine, and eventually fellow Avalanche, T.J Hensick.
In spite of being an NCAA standout, Porter didn’t earn a permanent roster spot with the Coyotes. At the 2010 trade deadline, Phoenix sent Kevin and Peter Meuller to Colorado for Wojtek Wolski. With the Avs, He found his roster home playing the better part of three seasons centering the fourth line.
Colorado allowed Porter to leave as a free agent after the 2011-12 season. He then signed with Buffalo for two years. Kevin also played several games for Detroit and Pittsburgh.
Andrew Agozzino: LW 2014-2015 (#32), 2015-2016 (#28), 10GP, 0-3-3, 0PIM
Career AHLer, Agozzino began his professional play by trying out directly with the Lake Eire Monsters. His impressive play caught the attention of the Colorado Avalanche, the NHL affiliate. Andrew was offered a two year contract but remained mostly in the AHL. He played one game in burgundy-and-blue as thirty-two registering an assist.
Agozzino signed a two-year two-way contract with the Avs in 2017. He will presumably be playing for Colorado’s new AHL affiliate, the Eagles.
Francois Beauchemin: D 2015-2017, 163GP, 13-39-52, 70PIM
Agozzino had to relinquish #32 with the arrival of Beauchemin’s veteran leaderlyness. The Avalanche acquired Francois as a free agent to mentor Colorado’s young defenders. Originally drafted 75th by Montreal in 1998, he spent the better part of nine seasons with the Ducks of Anaheim.
Beauchemin experienced a resurgence of sorts his first year with the Avs. In his first season with Anaheim in 2005, Francois registered 34 points (8 goals, 26 assists), a feat he duplicated ten years later in his first season with Colorado. He even received a Norris Trophy vote for the 2015-16 season.
The next year was not so kind to Beauchemin, as was the case for the whole team. The Avs bought out the third year of his contract in the spring of 2017. Again a free agent, Francois signed a final contract with the Ducks and retired after the 2017-18 season.
So, Dear Reader, who will you chose to represent #32?[qsm quiz=65]