(Photo: By Ken Lund [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

Three times players have reached 1,000 games on October 15. Two of them played for the Detroit Red Wings and the other for the Chicago Blackhawks.

On October 15, 1964, Ted Lindsay played his 1000th NHL game. Having begun his NHL career in 1944 with the Red Wings, Lindsay was traded to the Blackhawks in 1957. After playing 999 games in the NHL, he retired in 1960. Lindsay explained, “I still had a Red Wing on my forehead, on my backside and over my heart. I was existing, nothing more. Then, I retired for four years.” During those four years, Lindsay’s former Red Wings teammate, Gordie Howe, became the first NHL player to appear in 1,000 games. Howe still leads the NHL in total number of games played (with 1,767). Shortly thereafter, Bill Gadsby, in his first season as a Red Wing, became the second to play 1,000 games. The third player to reach 1,000 games, Red Kelly, did so a few years after leaving the Red Wings. Then, as Lindsay summarized, “Sid Abel talked me out of retirement when I was thirty-nine and I went back to play one more year in Detroit. It was the final year of the six team league.” Lindsay’s first game of that final season would be his 1000th, and he would play another 68 before retiring. He is tied for 225th in the rankings of most games played.

By Ralston-Purina Company,
makers of Chex cereals [Public
domain], via Wikimedia

On October 15, 1972, Stan Mikita became the first European-born and sixth player overall to reach 1,000 NHL points. He had an assist on the Blackhawks’ only goal when they lost to the St. Louis Blues at Chicago Stadium. This was almost exactly a year from the date when Norm Ullman became the fifth to reach 1,000 points. The fourth, Bobby Hull (Mikita’s teammate at the time), reached 1,000 within the fewest number of games (909) up to 1974. Of course, the first to reach 1,000 points was Gordie Howe (in 1960). Mikita played 22 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks (from 1958 to 1980), and his first two seasons were Lindsay’s last two seasons with the franchise. Mikita’s career total came to 1,467 points, which ranks him 14th among NHL point leaders.

On October 15, 2009, Nicklas Lidstrom joined Mikita in the 1,000 points club. Whereas Mikita was the first forward, Lidstrom was the first European-born defenseman to reach this milestone. Lidstrom’s two assists at Joe Louis Arena led to the Red Wings’ win against the Los Angeles Kings. Nine years earlier, on October 21, 2000, Lidstrom had topped 500 points, as the third European-born defenseman to do so. His career total came to 1,142 points. By the time he retired in 2012, Lidstrom had played 1,564 games (in 20 seasons) with the Red Wings, a number second only to Gordie Howe with 1687 games. Lidstrom is 12th overall for number of NHL games played. According to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Lidstrom “holds several Red Wings’ franchise records, including games played by a defenceman, most regular season goals, assists and points by a defenceman (264, 878 and 1,142), most playoff games (263), goals (54), assists (129) and points (183) by a defenceman.”

All three players have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Lindsay chose not to attend his induction ceremony in 1966 because women could not attend. In response, the Hockey Hall of Fame changed the rules the following year. Mikita (along with Bobby Hull) had his induction in 1983. After Lidstrom’s induction into the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Hall of Fame in 2014, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.


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