The newest installment of the Chicago Wolves’ Your Favorite Number series, presented by Jewel-Osco, is loaded with big-timers. Good luck picking your favorite Wolves player to wear No. 7!
Over the course of the organization’s first 26 years, most Wolves jersey numbers have been shared by several great players. To celebrate their brilliance — and to link them together in our memories — we are unveiling highlight reels of Wolves who wore the same jersey number and asking you to vote for your favorite.
If there was a Mount Rushmore for Wolves players, it would be awfully hard to keep Nardella off that mountaintop. The skilled defenseman from Melrose Park was a Wolves original who played for the 1994-95 team that set the tone for the franchise’s success. He helped the Wolves win the 1998 and 2000 Turner Cups and the 2002 Calder Cup. He ranks second on the team’s all-time list in games (476), fifth in assists (239) and sixth in points (298). He served as the team’s skating and skills coach before becoming a full-time assistant prior to the 2017-18 season.
Popovic had the unenviable task of being the next Wolves player to don No. 7 — and the Stoney Creek, Ontario, native wasn’t too shabby himself. In two seasons with the team, the defenseman piled up 28 goals and 50 assists in 138 regular-season games — and “Big Poppa” played each time he scored at Allstate Arena. For the 2006-07 squad that ranks as the best offense in franchise history, Popovic added three goals and six assists during the playoffs. He wound up spending part of five seasons in the NHL before heading to Europe and playing for seven years before retiring after the 2016-17 season at the age of 34.
As for Chelios, he spent a little time in the NHL (25 seasons) before joining the Wolves for the 2009-10 season at the age of 47. The Chicago native merely delivered five goals, 17 assists and a +34 plus/minus rating in 46 games while guiding the Wolves to a division title and the West Division Finals. Chelios was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013. His younger son, Jake, made his AHL debut with the Wolves in 2014 to make them the only father-son combo to play for the Wolves.
Carr spent just one season with the Wolves, but couldn’t have done much more as he earned the AHL’s Les Cunningham Award as the league’s Most Valuable Player. In just 52 regular-season games, Carr stacked up 30 goals and 41 assists to spark the Wolves to the Central Division crown. He paced the AHL in points per game (1.37) while sharing third in points (71), standing fourth in plus-minus rating (+35) and sharing eighth in goals. He fought back from injury to rejoin the team for the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs. He contributed five goals and seven assists in 15 games before succumbing to a season-ending injury in the Finals.