Last summer on July 6th, the Minnesota Wild signed Matt Cooke to a three-year contract. The gritty forward had a contentious relationship with the Wild and the State of Hockey, thanks to his time spent as a Vancouver Canuck, but Minnesota fans were quick to embrace the veteran because of his hard work and physical play. Helping ease the transition was his immediate impact on the ice, as Cooke scored the club’s first goal of the season on his first shift in a Wild sweater on Opening Night against the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 3, 2013. He was one of three players to skate in all 82 games, totaling 28 points (10-18=28) and a plus-8 rating.
On Tuesday, March 11, the 35-year-old hit the milestone mark of 1,000 career National Hockey League games in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Edmonton Oilers, coincidentally, the team he faced in his first NHL game. In 16 seasons with the Canucks, Capitals, Penguins and Wild, Cooke has skated in 1,017 games and scored 388 points (163-225=388). In 2009, he helped the Pittsburgh hoist the Stanley Cup.
“One thousand was never a bench mark,” Cooke said before the contest. “It was never even something I thought was attainable back when I started.”