LAS VEGAS– Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was honored before playing in his 1,000th NHL game Monday night.
Pietrangelo skated on the ice with his sons by his side. He joined his wife, Jayne, as she stood with their daughters, his parents and Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon.
Jay Bouwmeester, David Backes and Carlo Coliacovo were just a few of Pietrangelo’s former teammates who were inside T-Mobile Arena for the two-time Stanley Cup champion’s milestone night.
A video tribute included testimonials from Bouwmeester, Backes and former Blues coach Craig Berube. Vegas teammates Mark Stone and Alec Martinez, who appeared in his 799th career game, also spoke in the video with Golden Knights coach Bruce Cassidy.
Jayne Pietrangelo and their children closed the nearly three-minute video with touching holiday wishes.
“You don’t get to this place without having a lot of good people along the way,” said Pietrangelo, who played 758 games with St. Louis and 242 with the Golden Knights. “I love what I do, but I love people and you meet a lot of good people along the way. I don’t think you can play this career without these friendships. I don’t think I get to where I am without my wife and my kids…and all the teammates and everyone I’ve encountered over the years.
Pietrangelo, a three-time All-Star and three-time gold medalist for Team Canada, won the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019 and with the Golden Knights last season.
McCrimmon told the Associated Press before the game that when Pietrangelo signed with Vegas as a free agent ahead of the 2020-21 season, he knew having a veteran No. 1 defenseman with impeccable credentials was a big move onward towards completing a Stanley Cup puzzle.
“He came here to win and he’s a big part of why we did it,” said McCrimmon, who presented Pietrangelo with a gold hockey stick during the ceremony. “And in addition to his abilities he brought to our organization and our locker room in terms of leadership, he really exceeded our expectations. I’ve always said that Alex is more than a hockey player. He’s a great friend to his teammates, he’s a great leader to them, they look up to him, he’s made them better.”
Selected fourth overall by St. Louis in the 2008 NHL Draft, Pietrangelo became the 390th player all time to reach 1,000 games.
“I think when you move forward in your career, you don’t reach a lot of individual milestones and this one is important,” Pietrangelo said. “I keep being reminded that not many people have done it in the history of the NHL, so I think (I’m) trying to enjoy it for what it is.”
He contributed to both first-period goals in Monday night’s game against the Wild.
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