We feature four terrific players in the latest installment of the Chicago Wolves’ Your Favorite Number series, presented by Jewel-Osco. If you like forwards who excelled at hockey for a long time, then this is the episode for you.
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, we are creating highlight reels of Wolves who wore the same jersey number and asking you to vote for your favorite.
This week’s clips feature four Wolves who excelled while wearing No. 17: Guy Larose, Brad Larsen, Samuel Blais and Paul Thompson.
Larose joined the Wolves in 1998 at the age of 31 — after he already had played for 12 NHL, AHL and IHL teams. The feisty center immediately became a staple in the Wolves lineup and stayed for four of the most glorious years in franchise history. When Chicago won the 2000 Turner Cup, Larose posted 9 goals and 24 assists during the regular season before appearing in all 16 postseason games. When the Wolves captured the 2002 Calder Cup, Larose played in just 11 regular-season games — but head coach John Anderson put him in the lineup for all 24 postseason games as the Wolves won it all in their first AHL season.
Similar to Larose’s career arc, Larsen joined the Wolves in 2004 after spending parts of five seasons in the NHL. The 27-year-old British Columbia native promptly delivered the highest-scoring season of his professional career — sharing second on the team with 26 goals as the Wolves rolled all the way to the 2005 Calder Cup Finals. Larsen then spent most of the next three seasons with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, which set the stage for a successful coaching career. He’s currently preparing for his seventh season as a Columbus Blue Jackets assistant.
At just 20 years of age, Blais launched his professional career with the Wolves in 2016-17. The French-speaking forward quickly proved the St. Louis Blues got a sixth-round steal in the NHL draft as he stacked up a team-high 26 goals to help the Wolves win the Central Division crown. Blais added 3 goals and 5 assists in 10 postseason games. Two years later, Blais appeared in 15 Stanley Cup Playoff games as the Blues claimed their first championship.
Thompson came to town in 2017 with a reputation as a strong leader, physical forward and prolific scorer. Shortly after head coach Rocky Thompson (no relation) named the New Hampshire as team captain, the Wolves turned around their 2017-18 season and won another Central Division title. Thompson ranked third on the team with 24 goals and first with 108 penalty minutes while being the only player to appear in all 76 games.
To vote for your favorite Wolves player who wore No. 17, visit one or more of the team’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and make your opinion known!
If you missed any of the previous episodes, here they are:
Your Favorite Number 2
Your Favorite Number 3
Your Favorite Number 4
Your Favorite Number 5
Your Favorite Number 6
Your Favorite Number 7
Your Favorite Number 8
Your Favorite Number 9
Your Favorite Number 10
Your Favorite Number 12
Your Favorite Number 13
Your Favorite Number 14
Your Favorite Number 15
Your Favorite Number 16