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Homer's Iron Sled

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Tomas Holmstrom sits on the snowmobile that his Red Wings' teammates presented to him Saturday in recognition for playing in 1,000 NHL games. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

There were two things that Tomas Holmstrom got out of playing in the 1,000th game of his NHL career on Friday, but only one that he truly cherishes.

The 39-year-old Demolition Man has won four Stanley Cup titles and dealt with numerous debilitating injuries throughout a 14-plus season career that would surely limit – if not altogether end – the hockey lifeline of lesser willed individuals.

And it made perfect sense that Holmstrom receive a battle scar, a sort of reminder of his longevity milestone when in the first period Friday he had his nose broken and bloodied, courtesy of Anaheim forward George Parros.

“Of course it's going to happen in my 1,000th game,” Holmstrom said of his first career broken nose. “A little pain to remember.”

But by Saturday morning, Holmstrom was on to more pleasant thoughts when his Red Wings’ teammates surprised him with a Ski-Doo Renegade snowmobile, driven onto the ice at Joe Louis Arena by Henrik Zetterberg.

It’s a hockey tradition for players to pony-up to get a nice gift for a teammate who reaches 1,000-games. When asked for ideas, Holmstrom told his teammates that he would love to go on an Alaskan fishing trip. But the Wings’ players know how he likes snowmobiling, something that he’s done with his kids in northern Michigan during past few All-Star breaks.

The players threw Holmstrom a curveball when they purchased the iron sled model designed for the rider who prefer to hit off-trail terrain more than groomed trails.

“That was nice for the boys. I've got some nice teammates,” said Holmstrom, who began snowmobiling as a pre-teen growing up in northern Sweden. “They know I love snowmobiles. It was nice of them.”

The snowmobile was natural choice, Zetterberg said.

“I grew up loving snowmobiles. We enjoyed doing it,” Zetterberg said. “He really enjoys the outdoors, so it was a pretty easy choice. He had a few different ones, and we thought the snowmobile he would always use.”

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