Golden Knights' Phil Kessel Sets NHL Ironman Record at 990 Consecutive Games Played

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVOctober 26, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 24: Phil Kessel #8 of the Vegas Golden Knights warms up before playing the Toronto Maple Leafs in his 989th consecutive NHL game, tying Keith Yandle for the longest “Ironman” streak in league history at T-Mobile Arena on October 24, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Phil Kessel is the NHL's new ironman.

The Vegas Golden Knights center appeared in his 990th consecutive game when he took the ice for Tuesday's contest against the San Jose Sharks, which is an NHL record. He tied Keith Yandle's previous record of 989 straight games when he played in Monday's 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.


IRONMAN PHIL KESSEL 💪 <br><br>Congratulations Phil, on playing in your 990th consecutive game and becoming the NHL's new "Ironman" leader! <a href="https://t.co/BRKHSEuVKJ">pic.twitter.com/BRKHSEuVKJ</a>

Vegas Golden Knights @GoldenKnights

The truth is… he is Ironman. <a href="https://t.co/6dFYA6LTXX">pic.twitter.com/6dFYA6LTXX</a>

Vegas Golden Knights @GoldenKnights

Play on, Phil. Play on. 🏒<a href="https://twitter.com/ATTSportsNetRMW?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ATTSportsNetRMW</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/garylawless?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@garylawless</a> <a href="https://t.co/jmcvlz6utp">pic.twitter.com/jmcvlz6utp</a>

B/R Open Ice @BR_OpenIce

990 CONSECUTIVE GAMES. THE NHL HAS A NEW IRON MAN 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/T1o2QYTwt7">pic.twitter.com/T1o2QYTwt7</a>

Yandle played from 2006-07 through the 2021-22 campaign and announced his retirement in September. His streak ended in April when he was with the Philadelphia Flyers and missed a contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Kessel's last missed game came in October 2009 when he was a member of the Maple Leafs and was sidelined by offseason shoulder surgery.

That means the 35-year-old has appeared in every game for 12 consecutive seasons for the Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins and Arizona Coyotes. This is his first season with the Golden Knights, and he played the first three campaigns of his career on the Boston Bruins before he began the streak.

"There were plenty of them," Kessel said when discussing potential injuries that could have ended the streak, per Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com. "But I always just said, 'Screw it. I'll go out there and play because I like to play.' I'd rather be playing than sitting in the stands."

Zeisberger noted Kessel's streak continued even with the birth of his first child last season when he was on the Coyotes. He played just one shift during a March game against the Detroit Red Wings and then flew back on a private jet arranged by Arizona owner Alex Meruelo to be present for the birth.

The ironman record is another accomplishment in a career full of them.

Kessel first appeared in an NHL game during the 2006-07 campaign, and Tuesday marked his 1,212th contest. His resume includes two Stanley Cup titles, the 2006-07 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance and sportsmanship, and three All-Star Game selections.

The two Stanley Cup titles came in back-to-back years in 2016 and 2017 when he was a member of the Penguins. He finished with 22 points in 24 playoff games during the first championship run and followed with 23 points in 25 games in the second.

The veteran signed a one-year deal with the Golden Knights ahead of the 2022-23 campaign and entered Tuesday's matchup with two assists, zero goals and a plus-minus of zero through the first seven games.

If he remains healthy and continues to take the ice, his 1,000th consecutive game will come on Nov. 17 against the Coyotes.