MONTREAL - Defenceman Roman Hamrlik's first game as a Montreal Canadien will be also be his 1,000th in the National Hockey League.
The milestone will be reached when the Canadiens open the regular season on Wednesday night in Carolina. Hamrlik, a 15-year veteran, had played 999 NHL games when he signed a US$22 million, four-year contract as an unrestricted free agent this summer after two seasons with the Calgary Flames.
"I'm very excited," said the 33-year-old, who played his first game on Oct. 7, 1992 for the Tampa Bay Lightning. "It's a special day for me - my first game with the Habs and the 1,000th game for me.
"I'm proud to play that game and have the Montreal Canadiens on my chest. That will be a special feeling for me."
He will be the eighth all-time to play his 1,000th game in a Canadiens jersey, following Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Claude Provost, Frank Mahovlich, Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey and Stephane Quintal.
Two more Canadiens should reach the 1,000 games mark this month. Bryan Smolinski has played 992 and Alex Kovalev 991.
Hamrlik will be the 219th player with 1,000 games, but only the fourth Czech-born player after Jaromir Jagr, Bobby Holik and Petr Svoboda.