In today’s installment of our “Who Wore It Best?” series, we look at the number 36. The number has been worn a grand total of four times to date, twice by defensemen (during the same season, no less!), and once was the target of a brutal act of violence.
Jeff Odgers (1997-2000)
Jeff Odgers was already a fixture for the Avalanche prior to claiming number 36. After his arrival from the Boston Bruins via waivers on October 24, 1997, Odgers initially wore number 16 after it was vacated by Warren Rychel. He switched to number 36 at the beginning of the 1998-1999 campaign (where he would also wear the assistant captain’s “A”), amassing five points (2G/3A), along with a staggering 259 penalty minutes, in 75 regular season games. He also signed a two-year extension with the Avs during the season.
Odgers played in 15 playoff games for the Avalanche that season, scoring the first (and ultimately game-winning) goal during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals on a breakaway against Bill Ranford of the Detroit Red Wings en route to a 3-0 Avalanche victory (a series that the Avalanche would win four straight games after losing the first two games in Detroit). That would be the only playoff point the veteran right wing would record for the Avalanche during his stay with the team.
Odgers would play one final season with the Avalanche in 1999-2000, scoring three points (1G/2A) in 62 games played during the campaign. He was claimed by the Minnesota Wild in the 2000 expansion draft, but never played a game for the franchise as he was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers, where he would spend the final three years of his career before hanging up the skates after the 2002-2003 season.
During his three seasons with the Avs, Odgers played in 205 regular seasons games, 25 playoff games, amassed 21 regular season points (8G/13A), and 634 penalty minutes (he also racked up 17 penalty minutes in a single game on six different occasions).
Steve Moore (2001-2004)
After Odgers’ departure from the Avalanche, Steve Moore would claim number 36, becoming one of the most controversial numbers in Avalanche history…for all the wrong reasons.
A second round selection by Colorado in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft (53rd overall), Moore would make his Avalanche debut on New Year’s Day 2002 against the Nashville Predators, earning 7:28 in ice time as both teams would play to a 4-4 draw (ah, the good old days when ties existed!). He played in eight games wearing burgundy and blue during the 2001-2002 season before being reassigned to the Hershey Bears (AHL) on March 23, 2002. Moore didn’t record any points on the scoresheet during his first stint with the team, but the young center did record a total of four penalty minutes in two games (one tripping minor and one interference penalty) during that span. Throughout the season, Moore was called up and returned to Hershey a total of five times.
Moore would receive another recall from Hershey during the 2002-2003 season, playing in four games for the Avalanche. Again, Moore was held off the scoreboard before being returned to the Bears on December 03, 2002. Unlike the previous season, this would be his only call-up of the season, as Moore would play the remainder of the year with Hershey. On August 08, 2003, Moore would sign a one year contract with the Avalanche.
Moore would again receive multiple call-ups from the Avalanche in the early stages of the 2003-2004 season. He recorded his first NHL points (both assists) on November 20, 2003, in the Avalanche’s 4-3 win against the New York Rangers. He would be returned to Hershey on December 09, but would receive his fourth recall to the Avalanche on December 18. Moore recorded his first career goal on New Year’s Eve 2003 against the Calgary Flames; his tally stood as the game-winner in the contest.
Moore would score his final NHL goal on March 08, 2004, in the first period against the Vancouver Canucks. It would also prove to be the final game of his career, as Moore was savagely attacked from behind by Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi during the third period of the contest (which the Avalanche would go on to win by a score of 9-2). Bertuzzi’s actions against Moore sent shockwaves throughout the the hockey community: he was suspended from the NHL for the balance of the season for his heinous acts, avoid any form of criminal punishment, and would continue his career for several years afterward. Moore, on the other hand, received little support from the Avalanche or his teammates after the incident, became an unrestricted free agent on July 01, 2004, and never played another professional hockey game again.
During his three seasons with the Avalanche, Moore played a total of 69 regular season games, recording 12 points (5G/7A) and 41 penalty minutes. The number 36 would go into hibernation for the next several years following Moore’s departure.
Colby Cohen (2010-2011)
The second round choice by Colorado in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft (45th overall) is our first defenseman to wear the number 36 for the Avalanche after its long hibernation in the wake of Moore’s injury. Colby Cohen would sign a three year contract with the Avalanche on April 03, 2010, and made his Avalanche debut on November 06, 2010, in a 5-0 victory over the Dallas Stars. Cohen had no points in the game, but would take two of Avalanche’s seven minor penalties (one roughing minor and one holding minor) while averaging 18:07 in ice time in the contest.
Cohen would play two additional games for the Avalanche (a 4-2 defeat by the Calgary Flames, and a 5-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, respectively), being held off the scoresheet in both contests before being re-assigned to the Lake Erie (now Cleveland) Monsters (AHL) on November 13, 2010. He was traded to the Boston Bruins in exchange for defenseman Matt Hunwick on November 29, 2010.
Jonas Holøs (2010-2011)
Our second defenseman and last known Avalanche player to wear the number 36, Jonas Holøs was a sixth-round selection by Colorado in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft (170th overall), and was previously featured in our “Who Wore It Best?” series when Holøs wore number 6.
Holøs signed a two year contract with the Avalanche on May 26, 2010, first wearing the number 6 upon his Avalanche debut on October 16, 2010, a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders. He continued to wear this number until he relinquished it to Erik Johnson, who was acquired from the St. Louis Blues on February 19, 2011. Three days later on February 22, Holøs played his first game wearing number 36. Fittingly, this occurred during Johnson’s first visit to St. Louis as a member of the Avalanche; the former first overall pick in 2006 would score the game-tying goal against his former club during the third period. Holøs remained off the scoresheet in the victory, but averaged 12:40 in ice time and was matched up against the top line for St. Louis when Paul Stastny scored the game-winner late in the contest, giving the Avalanche a 4-3 victory.
On April 08, 2011, Holøs had his only multi-point game for the Avs, notching a pair of assists in the Avalanche’s 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars. He was re-assigned to Lake Erie on April 10, and then was sent to the Vaxjo Lakers of the Swedish Elite League (SEL) on October 15, 2011.
Holøs played in a total of 39 regular season games for the Avalanche, recording six points (0G/6A) and 10 penalty minutes.
The number 36 now awaits another opportunity to make a return to the Avalanche lineup.
So, who wore it best? Give us your thoughts here![qsm quiz=69]
(Thank you to eliteprospects.com and avalanchedb.com for providing statistics, drafting information, and contract details used in this article!)