Kessel leaves game after one shift before rushing to the birth of his child

Mar 9 2022, 5:18 pm

Not even the birth of his first child can stop Phil Kessel from chasing the NHL’s ironman streak.

The Arizona Coyotes forward faced a dilemma on Tuesday night with his team playing in Detroit as he had a baby on the way.

Most athletes would just take a game or two off for the birth of their child, but Kessel hasn’t taken a game off in, well, 13 years. Kessel’s just 22 games behind Keith Yandle for the NHL’s all-time consecutive games played streak, though Yandle’s streak is still ongoing.

The solution? Chartering Kessel a private plane after one shift so he could head back to Phoenix for the birth of his child.

The official game log for Kessel read out as just one shift, 30 seconds long, but they all count the same when keeping his streak of 956 consecutive games played alive.

In total, Kessel has now played 1,178 games in his career that spans across 16 seasons for theĀ  Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Arizona responded in a big way, thumping the Red Wings by a 9-2 score. And could it be any more fitting that Kessel’s back in the lineup on Thursday at Scotiabank Arena when the Coyotes take on Toronto?

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

+ Offside
+ Hockey