ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal is scheduled to play in his 1,000th NHL game on Sunday, March 19 when the Wild plays at the Winnipeg Jets at 4 p.m. on FOX Sports North and KFAN 100.3 FM. The Wild will honor Staal for reaching the 1,000-game NHL milestone in a special pre-game ceremony on Tuesday, April 4 when it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m.
Staal, 32, will become the 311th player (309th skater) in NHL history to reach the 1,000-game milestone. The 6-foot-4, 208-pound native of Thunder Bay, Ont., will also be the fifth player to play his 1,000th game in a Wild sweater joining Matt Cooke (March 14, 2014 vs. Edmonton), Matt Cullen (Jan. 10, 2012 vs. San Jose), Andrew Brunette (Feb. 1, 2011 vs. Los Angeles) and Keith Carney (Feb. 24, 2008 vs. Calgary).
Signed as a free agent by the Minnesota on July 1, 2016, Staal has recorded 54 points (24-30=54) in 70 games with Minnesota this season and leads the team in GWG (7, T-5th in NHL) and shots, ranks T-1st in goals, 2nd in scoring and T-4th in assists. He has tallied 835 points (349-486=835) including 108 PPG, 54 GWG and 706 PIM in 999 regular-season NHL contests with the Hurricanes, Rangers and Wild. Staal owns 43 points (19-24=43) in 48 career Stanley Cup Playoff games and led the NHL in playoff scoring in 2006 with 28 points (9-19=28) in 25 games as Carolina won the Stanley Cup. He was named to the 2006 NHL Second All-Star Team and has played in four NHL All-Star Games - 2011, 2009, 2008 (MVP) and 2007. Staal is a member of the Triple Gold Club having won a gold medal with Canada at the 2007 World Championship and the 2010 Olympics, along with the 2006 Stanley Cup. Since entering the NHL in 2003-04, he ranks second in shots on goal, third in games played, seventh in goals, eighth in scoring, ninth in PPG and 11th in assists amongst active players. Staal was originally selected in the first round (2nd overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by Carolina.
He helped form the Staal Family Foundation whose mission is "motivated by the desire to give back to communities where we live and work by providing support and opportunities for children and families fighting Cancer." The foundation sponsors a Canadian PGA tour event each summer and the 2016 Staal Foundation Open in Thunder Bay raised $250,000.