Phil Kessel: Vegas Golden Knights star breaks NHL record after going almost 13 years without losing a game




CNN

Vegas Golden Knights star Phil Kessel broke the National Hockey League (NHL) ‘ironman’ record on Tuesday after playing in his 990th consecutive game.

Taking the ice against the San Jose Sharks, Kessel surpassed the previous mark set last season by Keith Yandle of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Kessel, 35, began his impressive streak on November 3, 2009, when he made his debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He started that season missing 12 games while recovering from shoulder surgery and previously battling a cancer diagnosis at just 19 years old.

Not content with the ‘Ironman’ title, Kessel celebrated his record-breaking achievement by scoring his 400th career goal as his team beat the Sharks 4-2.

“It’s a nice thing. That means I’ve played a lot of games, right? It’s nice,” Kessel told reporters when he initially tied the record on Monday. “I was just happy.”

He added: “I like to play, I enjoy going there. I’ve been doing it for a long time and it’s still fun for me.”

The American has gone nearly 13 years without losing a game, including 12 full NFL seasons.

He has played for the Boston Bruins, Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, Arizona Coyotes and, most recently, the Golden Knights.

Kessel was a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins, winning back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.

Yandle, who set the previous record in January, has retired from the sport but had a video message for Kessel.

“To play in one NHL game is a remarkable achievement, but to play in every game 13 years back takes incredible talent to stay in the lineup day in and day out, tremendous determination to play through the aches and pains and a whole lot of luck,” he said.

Ten more and Kessel will become the first player to appear in 1,000 consecutive games, but he certainly won’t quit.

“Obviously there is a lot of luck. There are some nights you would have missed over time, but in the end I didn’t,” he told reporters.