Jarvis' 964-game ironman streak could be next major NHL record broken

Florida Panthers' Keith Yandle (3) controls the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game. (Luis M. Alvarez/AP)

After Patrick Marleau passed Gordie Howe last week for the most games played in NHL history, the ironman streak of Doug Jarvis could be the next milestone to fall.

Jarvis played in a record 964 consecutive games -- every game for 12 full seasons from 1975 through 1987 on three different teams while raising the Stanley Cup four times with Montreal.

Florida's Keith Yandle, Marleau and Arizona's Phil Kessel are all less than a full season away from passing Jarvis. Now 66 and an adviser for the Vancouver Canucks, Jarvis is rooting for his record to be broken.

"They all have a pretty good opportunity that they will bypass 964, I would think," Jarvis said. "I'm happy for them. To be able to play in the game of hockey at the NHL level for all those years and those games and to really basically avoid injury, I think that's tremendous."

Yandle is the front-runner, 47 games back of Jarvis at age 34 with two seasons left on his contract. The defenceman has credited his parents for his work ethic.

"I'm lucky every day just to be playing in the NHL and calling this a job," Yandle said in March before playing his 1,000th regular-season game. "Never really thought I'd even make it to the NHL, so it's one of those things where I'm just kind of enjoying the ride and enjoying every minute of it."

Marleau is 62 games behind, but he turns 42 in September and would need to play another season to have a chance. Before passing Howe's mark of 1,767 games played, Marleau said the same thing keeps him showing up to the rink: "I just love it. There's nothing else like it."

Kessel is 33, won the Stanley Cup twice with Pittsburgh and has a year left on his contract. He is also producing at a high level for the Coyotes, who are in playoff contention.

"I haven't changed anything," Kessel said recently. "My body's feeling better than it did last year. Whenever your body feels good, it helps a little bit."

Jarvis is feeling good 33 years since his streak ended and he hung up his skates for good.

"I have too many colleagues that have played the game and they're dealing with sore hips and knees and shoulders," Jarvis said. "I'm good -- really no issues. I enjoy running. I like to stay active that way. I feel very blessed."

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