No sick days or recovery time or absences of any kind. Doug Jarvis showed up to work on October 8, 1975 and kept working every game of every season until October 10, 1987. His 964-game streak remains the longest string of consecutive games played in the NHL. Second place, Garry Unger, trails by 50 games. Only 24 NHL players have even surpassed the 500 consecutive regular-season games needed for an iron man streak.
Having been drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, his almost-immediate trade meant that Jarvis began his streak with the Montreal Canadiens. During his seven seasons (of 560 consecutive games) as a Canadien, the defensive center became known for checking and for winning faceoffs. With him on the team, the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup four times in a row (between 1976 and 1979).
On September 9, 1982, the Canadiens traded Jarvis to the Washington Capitals. A month earlier, his cousin, Wes Jarvis, was traded by the Capitals to Minnesota. During his four years with the Capitals, Doug Jarvis played 265 more games and, in 1983-84, received the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the top two-way player.
Washington traded Jarvis to the Hartford Whalers on December 6, 1985. The second of his three seasons with the Whalers produced another award, the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, for perseverance and dedication. After 138 games, on October 11, 1987, Jarvis played his 964th and final NHL game, in which the Whalers lost 6-2 to the New York Rangers. An injury caused him to miss the next game, against the Boston Bruins, and instead, he became a player-coach for the AHL Binghamton Whalers for his final 24 games in professional hockey.
Jarvis then applied his perseverance and dedication to coaching. Beginning in 1989, he worked as the assistant coach of the Minnesota North Stars and then, with their move in 1993, of the Dallas Stars. The Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999. His 14 years with the franchise made him the assistant coach who has remained with the same franchise the longest. From 2003 until 2009, Jarvis coached in Montreal, first as head coach of the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs and then as associate coach of the Canadiens. For the six years between 2010 and 2016, Jarvis served as assistant coach of the Boston Bruins, who won the Stanley Cup in 2011. (Bruins center Patrice Bergeron earned three of his four Selke awards during the time Jarvis was with the Bruins.) In July 2016, Jarvis began working as the assistant coach for the Vancouver Canucks, the team that lost the championship final to the Bruins. All told, Jarvis’s coaching career has spanned over twice as long as his record streak as a NHL player.