The Winnipeg Jets went all out celebrating Paul Stastny‘s 1,000th NHL game Tuesday.
Members of the Jets donned No. 1,000 jerseys for warmups, and Winnipeg gave Stastny a slew of gifts before he played in his milestone game against the Vancouver Canucks.
Stastny has played for the Jets, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues. He became the first member of the famous Stastny family to play 1,000 NHL games and the first member of the Jets organization to receive the customary silver stick for playing that many games.
Stastny’s wife Haley and kids Draper and Riley were on hand to celebrate the special night, and the kids received mini silver sticks to commemorate the occasion. They were among the only non-players in Winnipeg as the Jets have played all season without fans due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“It [stinks] that not everyone could attend [the game],” Stastny told TSN during the first intermission. “But to have my wife and kids here with me, that meant the world to me.”
Paul’s dad Peter and mom Darina recorded a congratulatory message from Slovakia as part of a career montage for him. Stastny appeared to get emotional seeing the highlights and well-wishes from peers and former teammates such as Gabriel Landeskog, Max Pacioretty, Alex Steen and Tyler Bozak.
Aside from the silver stick, the Jets gave Stastny a custom piece of art commemorating his career. Jets coach Paul Maurice then started Stastny and moved him to center from his customary spot on left wing to let him take the opening faceoff.
Stastny admitted he was anxious for the milestone game and compared his excitement to that of a Stanley Cup Playoff game.
“It feels like that first playoff game or first NHL game or first regular-season game,” he said. “I get all these butterflies, and you want to get it over with.”