Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle made hockey history Tuesday night, breaking Doug Jarvis’ NHL record for consecutive games played when he took the ice against the New York Islanders for his 965th straight game.
Yandle, who tied Jarvis on Monday against the Dallas Stars, is now recognized as the NHL’s record Iron Man. The five-time All-Star, who signed with the Flyers on a one-year deal this summer, has not missed a game since March 22, 2009, when he was with the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes. The 35-year-old is in his 13th straight season without missing a game.
Jarvis, a center who played 13 NHL seasons from 1975-87 for the Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals, and Hartford Whalers, had held the record alone since Dec. 26, 1986, when he passed Gary Unger’s previous mark of 914 consecutive games.
Yandle says he hasn’t been focused on the record and has just tried to keep a one game at a time mindset.
“Honestly, not too much,” he said early in training camp. “I say it a lot, but I am lucky enough to play one game in the NHL. It is truly a blessing to put on a sweater every night. I thank my lucky stars every day that I am able to play in the NHL, the best league in the world, to meet the greatest people in the world.”
Drafted in the fourth round in 2005, Yandle’s streak has spanned four teams — the Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, and the Flyers — and almost 13 years.
“The love for the game and having fun,” said Yandle. “At the end of the day, we are playing a game we all dreamed of playing growing up. I remember [former teammate] Ray Whitney said to me when I was young, ‘A long as there is an NHL symbol on your jersey, that means you’re having a good day.’ I haven’t taken that for granted.”
Yandle also credited his parents, Bud and Patti, for instilling the importance of hard work.
“They definitely set the tone for our family of how we were going to be as kids. We saw them go to work every day and come home obviously tired and worn down, and do it day in and day out for 40 years,” Yandle said. “It’s just something that when you see that as a kid, and you see your parents working multiple jobs and doing whatever they can to better your life, it’s inspiring. I think that for me and my siblings, we all try to do that, we try to better our kids’ lives, and it’s been instilled in us since [we were] kids.”