You can’t tell the story of Nick Leddy’s career without talking about Minnesota.

It starts, as so many hockey stories do, on the backyard pond. It’s where Leddy spent countless hours skating, shooting and building his skills with his dad. Where neighborhood kids and teammates would come play pick-up games. Where he and his brother learned the game and to love it.

He was a high school star at Eden Prairie, a college standout at the University of Minnesota and a promising prospect drafted by his hometown Wild. The State of Hockey made him the player – and person – he is today, and it’s where he honed the craft that would make him one of the best at what he does.

Hockey ended up taking Leddy all over the world. He has played for four NHL franchises – Chicago, the New York Islanders, Detroit and St. Louis – and represented his country in international play.

But it’s fitting that, as he suits up for his 1,000th NHL game on Saturday when the Blues take on the Wild, he’s back where it all began.

“It’s crazy,” Leddy said of hitting the milestone in his hometown. “The chances are so, so minimal. I don’t even know what the odds would be. It’s gonna be hopefully really special…especially to have family and friends there.”

It’s friends and family, after all, who have been with Leddy since the beginning. And they’ll be in the building Saturday to celebrate with him. Leddy ended up purchasing a suite for the game and estimates he’ll have 20-30 people in attendance.

Among them will be his parents, Mike and Vicki, and his brother, Tyler. Growing up, both boys played multiple sports. If they weren’t on the backyard rink, you could probably find them in the basement shooting pucks or tossing a ball around. And those memories are some of the best for the family…even the ones away from the rink or field.

“Those car rides were fun bonding moments,” Leddy said. “We would play pretty much the same music before every game – I was a little superstitious then. It’s just good time to be together.”


The focus was always on taking it one level at a time – making the high school team, going to tournaments, maybe college hockey. But that changed quickly as Leddy’s play started to get him noticed.

“He made Team USA and played over in Bratislava, Slovakia, and then all of a sudden college guys were talking to us and we had pro scouts around us,” Mike said. “And I’m like, ‘Wow.’ It kind of blew me away. And then you kind of realize that he might have a chance to play that real high level.”

And he did. After one year in college, during which he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks, Leddy turned pro. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 7, 2010, in Colorado.

“I’d say a lot of nerves,” Leddy recalls of his first game. “Excitement. I think the biggest thing was probably just nervous not to let anyone down, especially with the team… Just try to go play my game and go from there.”

So he did that. And then he did it again, and again, and hundreds of more times. He’s played big minutes and in big moments. He won a Stanley Cup in 2013. And even now as a veteran, he’s still being relied on by the Blues to play big minutes on the top pairing alongside Colton Parayko.

It all goes back to the core lessons Mike taught him growing up: have fun and play your game.

“I think that’s probably the one thing that [my dad] said to me the most over the years – that I got here for a reason and playing that way,” Leddy said. “And that’s the biggest thing that has stuck with me over the years.”

Nick, Mike Leddy share memorable Dads' Trip

Those lessons have helped get him this far, and they’ll remain as he eclipses the 1,000-game milestone and sets his sights on the next one. And as always, Mike and the Leddy family will be in his corner, cheering him on.

“For Nick to be at this level and to have such a long career and be around some great coaches and teammates and play in great cities – yeah, I’m extremely proud of him,” Mike said. “And I think I let him know that periodically, too. That doesn’t end.”

On Saturday, Leddy will sit in his stall in the visitors’ locker room at Xcel Energy Center. He’ll lace up his skates just like he has thousands of times before. Just like he did back on the pond.

Things are different now. The rinks bigger, the crowds louder, the stakes much higher. But at his core, Leddy is still just a kid from Minnesota who loves hockey.

And no matter how many games he plays, that’s one thing that will never change.


The Blues will celebrate Nick Leddy's 1,000th NHL game prior to Monday's matchup vs. the Vegas Golden Knights at Enterprise Center. Be there as Leddy is presented with gifts from the organization and his teammates to commemorate the milestone before the opening face-off. BUY TICKETS