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It's a pretty bad feeling when you shell out a couple hundred dollars for a player's jersey only for them to change their number, either by choice or because a veteran is acquired and wants it.
Such is the case for fans of Dallas Stars forward Antoine Roussel. The 24-year old wore No. 60 last season after he was called up from the AHL, but was asked to change after new Stars management decided this summer they wanted to see lower numbers on most of their players. Roussel chose No. 21, the date of his birth, which was available after the July trade of Loui Eriksson.
The number change came as a surprise to some fans who either had purchased a Roussel jersey or were thinking doing so after the Stars unveiled their new designs. An exchange with one of those fans was what prompted Roussel to decide to pay them back in a way.
That one follower later said he was kidding, but Roussel says he's serious about the offer.
"I saw a couple people last year that bought my jersey with 60," said Roussel from his home in Quebec on Friday. "I told them I'm going to keep the number, so I kind of felt bad for them because they trusted me and I felt like I let them down. I felt like it's fair to do that.
The planning process for how this will all work is still in the early stages with training camp a month away and Roussel not heading back to Dallas until early September. For the time being, fans with either a home or away No. 60 jersey can leave their information and jersey with the receptionist at the Stars' executive offices. They'll be contacted at some point to get a fresh No. 21 Roussel jersey.
(Maybe the team store can put Roussel to work changing the numbers on a few jerseys?)
Roussel said he understood the frustration some fans might have because of the change, as he realizes just how expensive an effort it can be to swap digits.
"[W]ith the economy these days, it's tough to have some money, when they invest in jersey like that, it's an investment for some people," said Roussel.
"I don't want to put those people in a bad spot. I felt that was a good thing to do."
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy
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