Before the Toronto Maple Leafs took the ice on Tuesday night, Wayne Simmonds was at the heart of a special ceremony.
Having played his 1000th game in the NHL on the road on Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks, the Leafs took some time to honour Simmonds and his family prior to their contest against the Seattle Kraken.
“It is a special moment,” Leafs’ coach Sheldon Keefe said. “It is hard to play in this league. It is hard to make this league and play one game in it, let alone get to 1,000. As we have talked about, there are not many easy games for Wayne Simmonds. It hasn’t been an easy journey.”
General manager Kyle Dubas presented Simmonds with a ceremonial stick to mark the occasion while members of Simmonds’ family joined him on the ice.
Simmonds has played for six NHL teams in his career: the Los Angeles Kings from 2008-09 to 2010-11, the Philadelphia Flyers from 2011-12 to 2018-19, the Nashville Predators in 2018-19, both the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres in 2019-20, before coming to the Maple Leafs from 2020-21 onwards.
Mr. 1000 👏 pic.twitter.com/B52n8R3QPY
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) March 9, 2022
“You can’t help but feel a connection to that journey,” Keefe added. “His family is out there. You are watching the video. You are just kind of seeing the journey and the impact that he has made in the community here. You can’t help but feel the pride that he has to be a Maple Leaf at this point in his career. That is what really touched me watching it.”
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