When Frank and Lester Patrick introduced jersey numbers to the game, pretty quickly it became standard practice to give the goalie #1. Defensemen tended to 2 through 6 and forwards would follow suit with the higher numbers.
But there actually is no rule stating that a skater can not wear jersey #1. Though no non-goalie has done so in decades.
Herb Gardiner (1926-28), Marty Burke (1928-29), and Babe Siebert (1936-39) have all worn #1 in NHL sanctioned play, and all with the Montreal Canadiens.
Sprague Cleghorn also wore #1 with the Boston Bruins from 1926-1928.
So, was Sprague Cleghorn or Herb Gardiner first?
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