When Ian Laperriere lined up for the opening faceoff during Saturday’s contest against the Vancouver Canucks, it marked an important milestone for the Montreal native.
Colorado’s 1-0 overtime loss to Vancouver was the 1,000th career NHL game for the gritty forward and fan favorite, making him the second Avalanche player to reach the milestone this season. Defenseman Adam Foote previously hit the 1,000-game plateau on Oct. 12 at Edmonton.
“It’s special. One thousand games, I don’t know what to say,” stated a humbled Laperriere. “My dream was to play one game and I hit a thousand tonight.”
The man of the hour blocked two shots in 18:20 of ice time against the Canucks.
Laperriere ranks first on the team with 163 penalty minutes this season, the second-highest total of his NHL career. He also leads all Avalanche forwards with 69 blocked shots.
In his 1,000 career games, he has posted 118 goals, 198 assists and 1,794 penalty minutes.
Known throughout Colorado for his charitable contributions, Laperriere is the club’s nominee for the 2009 Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
Laperriere’s achievement was noted prior to the first drop of the puck Saturday afternoon. In a meaningful moment for the forward, he was joined on the ice by his sons, Tristan and Zachary, who served as the Avalanche’s “youth skaters” for the contest.
“I was happy my mom was here tonight, and my kids,” said Laperriere. “The Avalanche are such a class act, they sent my kids with me on the blue line. These are memories we’ll never forget and my kids will have memories forever.”
The Avs will officially recognize Laperriere's achievement with a special pre-game ceremony prior to Sunday’s contest against the St. Louis Blues.