Outlook

Matt Cullen milestone: Hockey alumnus plays in 1,000th NHL game

Friday, March 30, 2012

Matt Cullen

Matt Cullen

Matt Cullen An aerial view of Matt Cullen scoring the game-winning goal in his 1,000th NHL game. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Wild. 

In January, St. Cloud State hockey great Matt Cullen (1995-97) was feted by teammates, heralded in the media and saluted by fans when he played his 1,000th National Hockey League (NHL) game.

The Minnesota Wild center made the most of his milestone moment, scoring two goals, including the game winner. Cullen slipped the puck past Antti Niemi in a 5-4 shootout win over the San Jose Sharks Jan. 10 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Cullen, 35, has enjoyed success with six teams in an NHL career that dates back to 1997. In 2006, he helped the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup title, recording assists on the first two goals in Game 7.

He has skated with multiple national teams, notably the 1996 World Junior Championships team and the 2006 Olympic squad.

Cullen made an instant impact with Coach Craig Dahl’s 1995-96 Huskies, earning a spot on the WCHA All-Rookie Team with 12 goals and 29 assists. His sophomore season output of 15 goals and 30 assists earned the Virginia, Minn.-born Cullen a contract with the NHL’s Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

He joins Husky Hockey legend Bret Hedican (1988-91) on the list of St. Cloud State players who’ve played 1,000 NHL games. Just seven Minnesota-born players have achieved that threshold.

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