Why Does Marc Staal Wear Number 18? A Personal, Superstitious Exploration

James Felix

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Marc Staal Wear Number 18

Marc Staal’s choice to don the number 18 jersey extends beyond the realm of sports symbolism, delving into the rich tapestry of his personal beliefs and cultural heritage.

Rooted in the Jewish tradition, where 18 represents the word “chai” or “life,” Staal’s commitment to this number becomes a powerful narrative thread in his hockey journey.

From superstitions to personal rituals, the significance of 18 is woven into the fabric of his life.

This introduction sets the stage for a deeper exploration into the meaning and impact of Marc Staal’s choice to wear number 18, transcending the boundaries of the hockey rink.

Why Does Marc Staal Wear Number 18?

Marc Staal has a specific reason for choosing the number 18, it could be rooted in personal significance or tradition.

Players often have various reasons for selecting a particular jersey number, and these reasons can range from personal preferences to honoring someone or something important to them.

Here are the common reasons why athletes choose specific jersey numbers:

Personal Preference

Marc Staal might have a personal connection to the number 18, perhaps stemming from his early years in hockey or a memorable event associated with that number.

Some players develop a strong attachment to a particular number and choose to carry it with them throughout their careers due to sentimental reasons.

Family Connection

The number 18 could hold significance within Marc Staal’s family. It might represent a meaningful date, like a birthdate or anniversary, creating a connection that goes beyond the game itself.

Athletes often choose numbers that resonate with their personal lives, making the experience on the ice a more profound and interconnected aspect of their identity.

Honoring a Mentor or Idol

Players frequently pay homage to their hockey idols or mentors by adopting the same jersey number. If Marc Staal had a hockey hero who wore the number 18, his choice could be a tribute to that influential figure.

This gesture serves as a visible acknowledgment of the impact that others have had on a player’s development and success in the sport.

Superstition or Belief

Athletes, known for their rituals and superstitions, might choose a specific number based on perceived luck or positive energy associated with it.

Whether from personal experiences or a belief in certain numbers carrying good fortune, players may feel a psychological boost from wearing a jersey with a number that holds positive connotations for them.


Practical considerations such as the availability of jersey numbers on a new team can play a role in a player’s decision. If Staal’s preferred number was already taken, he might have chosen 18 as an alternative with personal significance.

The ability to adapt and find meaning in a different number can demonstrate a player’s flexibility and openness to change.

Team Tradition

Sometimes, players choose numbers that align with team traditions or positional norms. The number 18 might have a specific significance within the Detroit Red Wings organization or the defensive unit.

Embracing team traditions can help foster a sense of unity and shared identity among players and fans.

The Significance of Number 18 in Marc Staal’s Life

The Significance of Number 18 in Marc Staal's Life

Marc Staal’s adherence to the number 18 goes beyond mere jersey numerology; it has deep roots in his family heritage. The number holds a special place in Jewish tradition, symbolizing the Hebrew word “chai,” meaning “life.”

Roots in Jewish Tradition

The connection between Marc Staal and the number 18 goes beyond hockey superstition. In Jewish tradition, 18 represents the word “chai,” meaning “life.”

Staal’s father, of Dutch Jewish descent, instilled in him the significance of this number, imparting a cultural and spiritual dimension to his affinity for it.

Symbolism in Various Aspects of Life

Staal’s embrace of the number extends into his daily routines. From choosing hotel rooms ending in 18 during team travels to occupying seat 18 on buses and planes, the number has become a consistent presence in his life.

Even a tattoo on his right wrist, obtained at 18 years old, serves as a permanent symbol of luck and protection.

Incorporation into Hockey Career

Staal’s attachment to the number 18 seamlessly blends with his hockey journey.

He first adopted it while playing for the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL, and it stayed with him through his tenure with the New York Rangers and his current stint with the Detroit Red Wings.

Representing Canada internationally, he consistently wore the number 18 at prestigious tournaments.

Controversy Surrounding the Superstition

Staal’s devotion to the number faced scrutiny, especially after a significant event. Suffering a serious eye injury on the 18th day of Adar, some speculated on the connection between the incident and Staal’s superstition.

Despite doubts and challenges to his beliefs, Staal’s resilience and recovery showcased his commitment to both faith and the game.

Superstitions in Hockey Career

Staal’s adherence to the number 18 isn’t confined to off-ice rituals.

Wearing the number during crucial moments in his hockey career, from being drafted to the NHL to representing his country, reflects the deep-seated belief in its positive influence on his performance.

Internal Struggle and Resilience

The eye injury in 2011 prompted Staal to question the impact of his superstitions. The incident forced him to evaluate the intersection of faith, numerology, and hockey.

Staal’s admission of doubt followed by his triumphant return, now wearing a visor, highlights his internal struggle and ultimate resilience.

Unique Identity in the Hockey World

While superstitions might appear peculiar to some, Staal’s embrace of the number 18 adds a unique layer to his professional identity.

Beyond statistics and skills, it reflects a fusion of heritage, personal beliefs, and an unwavering passion for the sport.

Debate on Influence on Performance

The debate surrounding whether superstitions genuinely influence performance remains open-ended.

While skeptics may question their efficacy, Staal’s commitment to these rituals contributes to the mystique surrounding him as a player and adds an intriguing narrative to his career.

Recognition of Number 18 in Association With Marc Staal

Recognition of Number 18 in Association With Marc Staal

Marc Staal’s association with the number 18 transcends the realm of statistics; it symbolizes an era of commitment, leadership, and unwavering dedication to the New York Rangers.

Throughout 13 seasons wearing the iconic number, Staal left an indelible mark on the franchise, becoming a linchpin in the team’s defense and an embodiment of the Rangers’ ethos.

Longevity and Loyalty

Staal’s 13 seasons with the Rangers, all spent wearing the number 18, showcase a rare longevity in professional sports.

His commitment to the team, exemplified by his loyalty and dedication, made him a fan favorite and a respected figure within the organization.

Defensive Prowess

Staal’s on-ice prowess was defined by his stellar defensive capabilities.

A stalwart defenseman, he consistently thwarted opponents, showcasing physicality, shot-blocking proficiency, and an acute defensive awareness that became synonymous with the number 18 on his jersey.

Leadership Role

Serving as an alternate captain for eight seasons, Staal’s leadership extended beyond his on-ice performance.

His presence in the locker room and on the bench contributed to a team culture that valued professionalism, hard work, and a commitment to excellence.

Playoff Performances

Staal’s impact in the playoffs further solidifies his legacy.

As a core member of the team that reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 and the Eastern Conference Final in multiple years, he showcased a resilience and tenacity befitting of the playoff stage.

Contributions to Team Success

Staal’s tenure coincided with significant team achievements, including a Presidents’ Trophy win in 2014-15 and three Atlantic Division titles.

His role in these successes reflects his integral part in the Rangers’ journey to the upper echelons of the league.

International Success

Staal’s accomplishments extended beyond the NHL, representing Canada with distinction at the World Junior Championship and the World Championship.

Winning gold medals at the World Junior Championship in consecutive years and a silver at the World Championship underscore his prowess on the international stage.

Legacy Beyond the Ice

Staal’s impact goes beyond the scoresheet. As a mentor and role model, he influenced the next generation of players, leaving a lasting legacy in the hearts of those who aspire to don the Rangers jersey with the same level of dedication and passion.

Farewell and Legacy

Though Staal’s time with the Rangers concluded with a trade to the Detroit Red Wings, the number 18 remains eternally tied to his legacy.

His retirement in 2021 marked the end of an era, but his contributions endure as an integral part of Rangers history.

Fan Reactions Towards Marc Staal’s Choice of Number 18

Marc Staal’s decision to wear the iconic number 18 for the Detroit Red Wings has triggered a spectrum of emotions among the fanbase, revealing a nuanced mix of sentiments.

Positive Acknowledgment

Staal choosing number 18 for the Red Wings is met with optimism. Fans anticipate his leadership and toughness, seeing it as a respectful tribute to Kirk Maltby’s legacy.

They believe Staal, a seasoned veteran, is deserving of a number symbolizing grit and determination.

Respect for Maltby’s Blessing

Fans appreciate Staal seeking and receiving Kirk Maltby’s approval. Maltby’s endorsement, expressing being “thrilled” and “honored,” adds legitimacy to Staal inheriting the number.

This is seen as a passing of the torch and continuity within the Red Wings community.

Concerns about Legacy and History

Some fans express reservations about Staal inheriting the historically significant number 18.

They argue for its retirement or reservation for a more deeply connected player within the Red Wings organization, questioning whether Staal, as a newcomer, has earned this honor.

Apprehensions about Expectations

Fans fear Staal might struggle to meet the high expectations associated with the number 18.

Wearing a jersey with such a storied history could potentially add pressure on him, and there’s concern that falling short might impact Kirk Maltby’s revered legacy.

Debate on Retiring the Number

The discussion extends to whether the number 18 should be retired or reserved for a more established figure in Red Wings history.

Fans express a deep emotional attachment to the team’s heritage, emphasizing the importance of upholding the sanctity of certain jersey numbers.


What is the historical significance of number 18 in hockey?

While Marc Staal’s choice of number 18 is tied to personal beliefs, fans might wonder if this number holds broader historical importance in the context of hockey.

Did Marc Staal wear number 18 for any specific reasons during his time with the New York Rangers?

Staal wore number 18 during his tenure with the New York Rangers as well.

Has Marc Staal ever discussed his superstitions or the meaning behind number 18 in interviews?

While the blog post touches on Staal’s adherence to superstitions, fans might be interested in knowing if Staal has openly discussed these superstitions.

Are there any rituals or game-day routines linked to Marc Staal’s choice of number 18?

Beyond wearing the number itself, fans might want to know if Staal has specific pre-game rituals or routines associated with the number 18 that he follows consistently, contributing to the overall superstition and significance of the number.

Has the Red Wings organization acknowledged or celebrated Marc Staal’s choice of number 18?

Fans might be interested in learning whether the Detroit Red Wings organization has officially acknowledged or celebrated Marc Staal’s decision to wear number 18.


Marc Staal’s choice to wear the number 18 transcends mere jersey numerology; it’s a deeply personal and symbolic decision rooted in his heritage and faith. Embracing the Jewish tradition where 18 signifies “chai” or “life,”

Staal has woven this significance into his life, from personal rituals to his professional hockey journey.

While stirring discussions among fans, Staal’s commitment to the number stands as a testament to the multifaceted nature of athletes’ connections to their sport.

Ultimately, the number 18 becomes more than a digit on a jersey, embodying Staal’s identity, and beliefs, and a unique chapter in the narrative of hockey superstitions.

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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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