Defenseman Bryan Helmer skated in his 1,000th regular-season American Hockey League game Friday night as the Oklahoma City Barons took on the Abbotsford Heat at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.
Helmer, 38, is the seventh player in the league’s 75-year history to reach that milestone, joining Willie Marshall (1,205 career games), Fred Glover (1,201), Harry Pidhirny (1,071), Mike Nykoluk (1,069), Jody Gage (1,038) and Rob Murray (1,018). He has also appeared in 146 NHL games with Phoenix, St. Louis, Vancouver and Washington.
Helmer, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was undrafted after playing Junior-A hockey and made his professional debut with the AHL’s Albany River Rats on Oct. 8, 1993. He played five seasons in Albany, helping the team to a Calder Cup championship in 1995, and later skated for the Worcester IceCats (1998-2000), Manitoba Moose (2001-03), Springfield Falcons (2003-04), Grand Rapids Griffins (2004-06), San Antonio Rampage (2006-08) and Hershey Bears (2008-10). He captained the Bears to back-to-back Calder Cup titles in each of his two seasons in Hersey.
He signed with Oklahoma City, Edmonton's top farm team, on Jan. 7, 2011.
Helmer is the AHL’s all-time leader among defensemen in games played, assists (402) and points (526). He also has played more Calder Cup Playoff games (138) than any player in AHL history. He was a First Team AHL All-Star in 1997-98 and a Second Team AHL All-Star in 2005-06.