Why Does Auston Matthews Wear 34? Unveiling the Symbolism

James Felix

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Auston Matthews Wear 34

Auston Matthews, the dynamic center for the Toronto Maple Leafs, possesses a distinctive emblem on his jersey that transcends mere numerical identity.

The number 34 adorning Matthews’ uniform is not a random choice but a deliberate homage to his sporting influences, family legacy, and personal journey. 

Beyond the Ice Rink, tells a tale of admiration for baseball icon David Ortiz, familial connections through his father’s athletic pursuits, and a commitment to tradition.

In exploring why Auston Matthews wears the number 34, we unveil a narrative woven with personal significance, superstitions, and a deep-seated resonance that elevates a simple jersey number to a profound symbol in the world of hockey.

Why Does Auston Matthews Wear 34?

Auston Matthews, the star center of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is renowned for his incredible goal-scoring abilities and being the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft. However, there’s more to his jersey number, 34, than meets the eye.

Early Years in Arizona and Youth Hockey

Born in San Ramon, California, and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Matthews developed a love for hockey at an early age, inspired by watching the Phoenix Coyotes play.

His exceptional talent and passion for the game quickly became evident as he played for various youth teams in Arizona.

Diverging Paths: Baseball

While hockey was his primary love, Matthews also played baseball, following in the footsteps of his father, Brian.

Despite his father’s hopes for him to pursue baseball, Auston found the sport too slow compared to hockey. However, he developed a strong admiration for David Ortiz, the legendary Boston Red Sox slugger known as “Big Papi.”

A Tribute to David Ortiz:

David Ortiz, wearing the number 34, became Matthews’ sports idol. Admiring Ortiz’s power, clutch performances, and charismatic personality, Matthews decided to adopt the number 34 on his jerseys as a tribute to the baseball legend.

This decision marked the beginning of Matthews’ association with the iconic number.

Swiss Sojourn

Before entering the NHL draft, Matthews played for the ZSC Lions in Switzerland during the 2015-16 season. Unsurprisingly, he continued to wear the number 34, dominating the Swiss league and earning accolades, including the NLA Rising Star Award.

NHL Debut and Historic Achievements

Matthews made a historic NHL debut on October 12, 2016, scoring four goals against the Ottawa Senators and becoming the first player in modern NHL history to do so.

This remarkable start set the tone for his career, as he went on to win the Calder Trophy as the best rookie, solidifying his status as a generational talent.

Legacy in Toronto

Wearing the number 34 throughout his career, Matthews has become a franchise player for the Toronto Maple Leafs, consistently ranking among the league’s top goal-scorers.

Beyond the statistics, the number 34 has become iconic in Toronto, symbolizing Matthews’ dedication to the game and his tribute to his childhood idol, David Ortiz, and his father’s influence.

A Family Tradition in Number 34

Auston Matthews’ connection to the number 34 runs deeper than sports idols alone. His father, Brian, who played college baseball at Cal State Fullerton, also wore the same number during his athletic endeavors.

This familial connection further solidified Matthews’ attachment to the number 34, turning it into a multi-generational symbol within the Matthews family.

International Stature

Auston Matthews’ journey extends beyond the NHL, as he has proudly worn the number 34 while representing Team USA in various international tournaments. 

Winning gold medals at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge and the World U18 Championship, and a bronze medal at the World Junior Championship in 2016.

Personal Significance Behind the Number 34 for Auston Matthews

Personal Significance Behind the Number 34 for Auston Matthews

Beyond the on-ice exploits and the accolades, Auston Matthews’ choice of jersey number 34 carries a deeply personal significance.

In the intricate tapestry of his life, this number threads through family traditions, childhood influences, and personal values, weaving a narrative that goes beyond the boundaries of the hockey rink.

A Paternal Thread

For Auston Matthews, the number 34 is not merely a numerical identifier on the back of a jersey; it’s a familial legacy. His father, Brian Matthews, who once played college baseball at Cal State Fullerton, also sported the number 34 during his athletic endeavors.

This familial connection adds layers to the significance of the number, turning it into a symbol that bridges generations within the Matthews family.

Childhood Inspirations

Growing up in Arizona, Matthews was captivated not only by the speed of hockey but also by the charisma of baseball legend David Ortiz, known as “Big Papi.” Ortiz’s prowess on the field and his larger-than-life personality left an indelible mark on young Matthews.

The decision to wear number 34 was, in essence, a nod to his childhood hero, a way of carrying Ortiz’s legacy onto the ice.

Identity and Values

Beyond the statistical achievements, Matthews uses the number 34 to embody the qualities he admired in David Ortiz work ethic, leadership, and dedication to family.

It becomes a symbol of his commitment to excellence and a reminder of the values that have shaped his journey in hockey. In wearing number 34, Matthews steps onto the ice not just as a skilled player but as someone striving to leave a lasting impact, both professionally and personally.

Global Recognition

The significance of number 34 isn’t confined to the NHL; it extends to the international stage. Representing Team USA in various tournaments, Matthews has proudly donned the number 34 jersey, turning it into a symbol of success in global competitions.

It’s a number that transcends borders, signifying not only individual achievement but also national pride and a commitment to excellence on the world stage.

Number 34 as a Personal Emblem

In the life of Auston Matthews, the number 34 is more than a uniform choice; it’s a personal emblem that intertwines family, childhood inspirations, and core values.

As he continues to carve his path in the hockey world, the number 34 remains a constant, a symbol that reflects not only his on-ice prowess but also the intricate layers of his personal journey.

A Symbol of Resilience

A Symbol of Resilience

Auston Matthews has faced triumphs and challenges throughout his hockey journey, and in each instance, the number 34 has stood as a symbol of resilience.

Whether celebrating victories or overcoming setbacks, the consistency of wearing this number has become a personal talisman for Matthews, signifying his ability to endure and thrive in the face of adversity.

Community Connection

It represents more than just a player on the ice; it symbolizes a community united in cheering for their favorite team and player.

The connection forged through this number goes beyond the boards, creating a shared identity for the fan base and turning number 34 into a rallying point for the Toronto Maple Leafs community.

Benefits of Wearing 34 for Auston Matthews

Auston Matthews’ choice of wearing the number 34 goes beyond the realm of mere tradition or personal preference; it serves as a symbolic cornerstone in his illustrious career.

Exploring the benefits of donning this iconic number unveils a narrative rich in personal significance, familial ties, and the indomitable spirit that has defined Matthews’ journey on the ice.

Personal Identity and Tradition

Wearing the number 34 provides Auston Matthews with a unique personal identity on the ice.

This tradition, stemming from his admiration for David Ortiz and his father’s athletic legacy, anchors Matthews to a sense of continuity, reinforcing his commitment to the values and influences that shaped his love for the game.

Motivational Influence

The number 34 serves as a powerful motivator for Auston Matthews. Beyond statistical performance, the jersey becomes a symbolic reminder of the high standards set by his childhood idol, David Ortiz, and the aspirations instilled by his father.

This motivational influence propels Matthews to consistently strive for greatness and contribute to the legacy associated with the number 34.

Fan Connection and Legacy

Wearing the number 34 deepens Auston Matthews’ connection with the fan base. It transforms into an iconic symbol within the Toronto Maple Leafs community, creating a shared identity and fostering collective pride.

The legacy associated with the number adds an extra layer of responsibility and motivation for Matthews to perform at his best, both for himself and the devoted fanbase.

Superstition and Mental Edge

Superstitions often play a significant role in an athlete’s routine, providing a mental edge. For Matthews, the consistent choice of number 34 reflects a superstition that contributes to his psychological preparation.

The familiarity and positive association with the number create a sense of comfort, helping him enter each game with confidence and focus.

Generational Continuity

Wearing the number 34 allows Auston Matthews to bridge generations within his family. From his father’s use of the number to his own, it symbolizes continuity and a shared sporting heritage.

This generational link becomes a source of pride, reinforcing Matthews’ commitment not only to his individual success but to the enduring legacy of the Matthews family in the realm of sports.


Why does Auston Matthews wear the number 34?

Auston Matthews wears the number 34 as a tribute to his childhood idol, David Ortiz, the legendary Boston Red Sox slugger.

Is there a family connection to the number 34 for Auston Matthews?

Yes, there is a family connection. Auston’s father, Brian Matthews, wore the number 34 during his college baseball days at Cal State Fullerton.

Did Auston Matthews wear number 34 before joining the NHL?

Yes, Matthews wore number 34 even before entering the NHL. During his time with the ZSC Lions in Switzerland for the 2015-16 season.

Does Auston Matthews have any specific rituals or superstitions related to the number 34?

While specific rituals aren’t widely documented, Auston Matthews’ consistent choice of the number 34 suggests a deep personal connection and attachment.

How has Auston Matthews’ career with the Toronto Maple Leafs influenced the legacy of the number 34?

Auston Matthews has become a franchise player for the Toronto Maple Leafs, consistently delivering exceptional performances and earning recognition as one of the league’s top goal-scorers.

To Recap

In donning the number 34, Auston Matthews intertwines personal history, family tradition, and sports idolatry.

Beyond statistical achievements, the jersey becomes a canvas for a multi-layered narrative, embodying Matthews’ admiration for baseball legend David Ortiz and honoring his father’s sporting legacy.

The choice, maintained since his youth hockey days through the NHL, transforms a mere number into a symbol of resilience, consistency, and generational connection.

As Matthews continues to etch his name in the annals of hockey history, the iconic number 34 remains a steadfast emblem, encapsulating a rich tapestry of personal and familial significance in every game he plays.

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James Felix

As Head Boy's Ice Hockey Coach at Milton Academy, I foster teamwork, discipline, and skill development. Our success relies on dedication and refining tactics. We balance academics with on-ice performance, shaping well-rounded individuals. Together, we uphold Milton Academy's tradition of excellence in athletics and academics. LinkedIn

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