After 40 Years, Record Finally Broken For Most Games Played

Evelyn Sorg ‘24, Staff Writer

On April 19th, 2021, San Jose Shark forward Patrick Marleau broke the record for most games played in the NHL. The record was initially set by Detroit Red Wings right-winger Gordie Howe in 1961. Marleau has had quite the career since he first joined the league in 1997. He played for a total of three different teams including our own Pittsburgh Penguins. 

From 1997 to 2017 Marleau played for a Western Conference team known as the San Jose Sharks. He debuted almost immediately at the start of the 1997-98 season. Following the departure of captain Owen Nolan following the 2002–03 season, the role of captain rotated for the first half of the 2003-04 season, before the “C” was permanently granted to Marleau. At the time of the 04-05 NHL lockout, Marleau, along with many other players, remained inactive during the season but returned the following year. During that year Marleau became a point-per-game player with career-highs of 34 goals, 52 assists, and 86 points in 82 games. On March 19, 2016, Marleau became the youngest player to play in his 1,400th NHL game, becoming 1 of only 36 players to accomplish this.

In 2017, becoming a free agent for the first time, Marleau signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. While with Toronto, Marleau would continue to achieve many things and advance his career. He played in his 1,500th career NHL game on October 18, 2017, and later that season he recorded his 100th game-winning goal, the 8th player to reach that mark. The 2019-2020 NHL season saw Marleau make a brief one-year return to the San Jose Sharks. On January 11, 2020, Marleau played in his 1,700th NHL game, becoming the fifth player in NHL history to reach the mark. 2020 saw Marleau make his debut as a Pittsburgh Penguin where his Stanley cup dreams were sadly cut short when the Penguins were eliminated in the first round by the Montreal Canadians.

On October 13, 2020, Marleau made his reappearance once more as a San Jose Shark where he currently is today. Throughout his entire career, Marleau only ever missed 31 games.

On April 19, 2021, in an away game against the Vegas Golden Knights, Marleau played his 1,768th NHL game, breaking the all-time NHL regular-season games played record.