Brent Sopel returned to Chicago to continue his playing career and has now accomplished something that establishes his longevity. On December 3, 2014 versus the Lake Erie Monsters, Brent Sopel played in his 1,000th career professional hockey game.
To honor the feat, the Chicago Wolves will honor Sopel prior to the team’s game on January 3rd versus the Rockford IceHogs. Rockford’s parent club, the Chicago Blackhawks, is where the veteran defenseman won his only Stanley Cup Championship.
Sopel was a sixth round selection of the Vancouver Canucks in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He made his debut in 1996 with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. His career has notably landed him on the ice with the Canucks, Blackhawks, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, Atlanta Thrashers and in the KHL, among other stops.
“Somebody said something to me about it last season and I’d never paid attention,” Sopel said in an earlier interview with the Chicago Wolves. “Since then, you understand where you are. To have 1,000 professional games is something special. It’s been a lot of hard work. It’s been a lot of sacrifice from my kids as well as myself. It’s very special to me.”
The 37-year old Sopel has played 659 games in the NHL, 201 in the AHL, 136 KHL games and 4 in the defunct International Hockey League. In 18 games this season with the Chicago Wolves, Sopel has 7 assists and plus/minus of plus-three.
“I get to be back here playing the game I love in the city I love,” Sopel said.
“I get to come to the rink every day and being with these young guys makes me feel a little bit younger – some days. If guys have problems or need things, I’ve been around the block. If guys have any questions or concerns, I’m proudly there to help.”
Tickets are still available for the interstate rivalry between the Wolves and IceHogs for the game on January 3.
Jeff is a production assistant @120Sports and contributor to hockey, football, and baseball for The Sports Bank. Follow him on Twitter @skcih_ffej.
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