When Matt Cooke was signed by the Minnesota Wild, some fans wondered if he'd wear his usual number, #24, with his new team. The number is a special one for Wild fans as it was the number worn by the late Derek Boogaard.
In an extremely respectful gesture, Cooke reached out to Boogaard's family and requested permission to wear #24 with the Wild, as reported by the Star Tribune.
The Minnesota Wild have no issue with Cooke wearing Boogaard's old number. The club mentioned that Martin Havlat wore #24 after Boogaard's and that they were comfortable with Cooke wearing it moving forward. That wasn't enough for Cooke. He wanted permission from Boogaard's family.
The Star Tribune mentions that Cooke sent emails to Boogaard's mother and father. Boogaard's father then forwarded Cooke's email to Derek's siblings. Derek's brother, Ryan Boogaard, stated:
I texted my dad and told him I have no issues with it. I’m very impressed with Matt for what he did by reaching out to my parents. He didn't have to do it as he could have just worn #24, but he thought of Derek and our family before doing so. I knew that someone would eventually wear #24 and I was not expecting them to reach out to us, so when Matt did, I could not have been happier.
A terrific gesture from a player who is desperately trying to change his image in the hockey community.