Curse of the Number 13 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins History

Friday, June 13, 2014

Beau Bennett was the most recent AHL Penguin to wear the number 13. The seven in franchise history who have worn 13 have had drastic differences in their hockey careers.
In team history, exactly seven 'lucky' players have worn the 'unlucky' number 13 for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. After the first two guys who did it in back-to-back seasons in the Pens first seasons as a team, it wasn't touched for four years. I guess you could say the curse starts here.  

Both Casey Harris (1999-00) and Jim Leger (2000-01) only lasted one season with the AHL Penguins wearing number 13 and Leger went pointless in his WBS career of 19 games.

But after four years, a new challenger was ready for number 13. Daniel Carcillo. I'd have to say he broke the AHL Pens' curse of number 13 and rather started a blessing to wear that number. Carcillo went on to make quite a name for himself following a trade from the Pens to Phoenix on February 27, 2007, leading the entire NHL in penalty minutes in 2007-08 with 324.

Carcillo has gone on to play in the NHL for several other teams including the Philadelphia Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings and currently the New York Rangers who, as most of you know, are battling the Kings in Game Five tonight on the last full moon on a Friday the 13th until 2049.

Others have come in to Wilkes-Barre and worn #13 and graduated to the NHL ranks including defenseman Alex Goligoski (2007-09) and most recently forwards Colin McDonald (2011-12) and Beau Bennett (2012-13).

A bit of Friday the 13th fun, but after the jump a little bio on those who have worn number 13 over the years.  

Casey Harris 1999-00

Harris, now 38 years old, had just finished four years at Ferris State University back in 1999 before making his AHL debut with the inaugural season 1999-2000 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Harris was a tough customer who tallied 12 points (6G-6A) in 74 games while adding 149 penalty minutes in his only season with the team.

Jim Leger 2000-01

Leger played in Hockey East with the University of Maine, graduating in 2000 and making his AHL debut with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the 2000-01 season after some time with the then ECHL's Johnstown Chiefs. Leger might have been the most affected by the curse of the number 13, going pointless in 18 regular season games and one playoff game that season.

2001-05 - None

2005-07 - Daniel Carcillo

Carcillo broke the curse of number 13 after being traded to Phoenix. He has gone on to play for several NHL teams. 

2007-09 - Alex Goligoski

Goligoski developed in the Penguins system before a trade sent him to the Dallas Stars for Matt Niskanen and James Neal. Goligoski is having a fine career as an every day NHL player.

2009-10 - T.J. Fox

I have to admit I don't remember T.J. Fox much, as he only appeared in four games with the AHL Penguins after spending much of that season in the ECHL with the Wheeling Nailers, creating a ton of offense with the Nailers with 60 points (26G-34A) in 64 ECHL games that season.

Since then, Fox has bounced back and forth between hockey overseas in Germany and the Central Hockey League, where he tallied 27 points 8G-19A in 63 regular season games with the Denver Cutthroats in the 2013-14 season this year.

2010-11 - None

2011-12 - Colin McDonald

McDonald came to the Penguins as a free agent signing the year after he led the Oklahoma City Barons and the entire AHL with 42 goals in the 2010-11 regular season. McDonald managed 49 points (14G-35A) in 64 regular season games, but turned things up a notch with 13 points (6G-7A) in 12 playoff games that year, his one and only with the Pens organization. He also went scoreless in five NHL games with Pittsburgh.

Since then, McDonald signed with the New York Islanders organization and after 35 games in the AHL with their affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers, he has spent the last season and a half in the NHL, tallying 15 goals and 20 assists in 115 NHL games with the Islanders.

2012-13 - Beau Bennett

After an injury shortened season in college at the University of Denver, Bennett got into his first AHL game action in a preseason game up in Brighton, New York against the Rochester Americans. I will remember it to this day as it was also my first AHL media pass.

The injuries continue to plague Bennett after part of one season with the AHL Penguins wearing the number 13, where tallied seven goals and 21 assists in 39 games. Bennett was limited to 24 pro games of action this past season and had another off season wrist surgery this summer.

Has the curse of wearing the number 13 returned? Nobody wore the number this season for the WBS Penguins, but it will be interesting to see if anyone claims number 13 in the 2014-15 season. 


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