TAMPA, Fla. — There are many reasons why a player will pick a specific jersey number.

It can be to pay homage to a childhood NHL idol.

It can be because of superstition, keeping the same number they’ve had from midget on up.

For Lightning center Tyler Johnson, he has a unique meaning behind his No. 9.

It’s the number his mother, Debbie, wore.

Debbie Johnson played rec hockey in Spokane, Wash. It’s where she met Johnson’s father, Ken. Debbie was also a learn-to-skate coach, teaching her future All-Star son how to cruise around the ice.

“She taught me everything,” Johnson said. “She was basically my skating coach until I was 14, always taking me out there. I lived on the rink.”

Johnson said his mother was a forward, and much better than his dad, joking his old man was “terrible.”

“My mom had most of the assists,” Johnson said. “Dad just…


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