New Minnesota Wild acquisition Matt Cooke has worn No. 24 throughout his career – the same number worn by the late Derek Boogaard as a member of the Wild.
In an interview with KFAN radio, Cooke said he would like to continue wearing No. 24, but not without the blessing of the Boogaard family. Cooke said he's already received permission from the team to wear the number, since it was already worn by Martin Havlat after Boogaard.
"I don't really feel comfortable putting it on without his mom and dad's blessing," Cooke said. "I've sent emails off to them. I want to let them know that by putting it on I'm absolutely not doing anything disrespectful. It's been my only number in the NHL, but at the end of the day, I don't want anyone's feelings hurt. I don't want anyone to think that I am being disrespectful and I want to make sure I take care of that before I even entertain the thought of putting it on."
According to a Star Tribune report, Len Boogaard shared Cooke's email with the family.
"I texted my dad and told him I have no issues with it," Ryan Boogaard said. "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 No. 24, but he thought of Derek and our family before doing so. I knew that someone would eventually wear No. 24 and I was not expecting them to reach out to us, so when Matt did, I could not have been happier."