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Wolves Defenseman Brent Sopel Plays 1,000th Game


December 3, 2014

Defenseman Brent Sopel joined an elite group Wednesday night when the puck dropped for the Chicago Wolves’ American Hockey League contest at Lake Erie as it represented his 1,000th regular-season game as a professional.

Defenseman Brent Sopel joined an elite group Wednesday night when the puck dropped for the Chicago Wolves’ American Hockey League contest at Lake Erie as it represented his 1,000th regular-season game as a professional.

The 37-year-old SOPEL, who won the 2010 Stanley Cup as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, has appeared in 659 National Hockey League games, 201 AHL games, 136 Kontinental Hockey League games and 4 International Hockey League games since making his professional debut in April 1996 with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.

The Wolves will honor SOPEL and celebrate this milestone with a ceremony prior to the team’s game on Saturday, Jan. 3, against the Rockford IceHogs at Allstate Arena.

“Somebody said something to me about it last season and I’d never paid attention,”SOPEL said. “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 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the sixth round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. After honing his craft with the Syracuse Crunch, SOPEL spent parts of six seasons in Vancouver before earning stints with the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers, and Montreal Canadiens. He contributed 44 goals and 174 assists in NHL regular-season play along with 4 goals and 14 assists in 71 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

SOPEL spent the last three seasons in Russia before joining the Wolves this season. He has delivered 7 assists and a +3 plus/minus rating in 18
games while serving as a valuable sounding board for the team’s younger players.

“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.”

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