Ice hockey is widely regarded as one of the most physically demanding sports to compete in. Making it all the more remarkable to have a relatively lengthy career playing in the NHL. Which is typically considered the top league for the sport in the world.

Injuries and exhaustion are commonplace. Quite understandably, players usually have to miss a number of games every now and then. But there are a few players for whom talent and good happenstance help to make for some special circumstances. Phil Kessel can now officially be written in the history books as one of those players.

Sets new consecutive games played record, scores 400th goal

Phil Kessel is the new 'Iron Man' of the NHL, as noted by ESPN and CBS. Kessel is currently a right winger for the Vegas Golden Knights. He earned the solo Iron Man title on October 25, 2022, appearing in his team's match-up with the San Jose Sharks. He'd tied the record the night before, when the Golden Knights played his former club, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The record-setting game was the 990th consecutive one of its kind that Kessel played in. The previous record-holder, Keith Yandle, set his mark earlier in the year before retiring shortly after. Yandle's predecessor had been Doug Jarvis, whose record stood for more than three and a half decades.

Phil Kessel was drafted fifth overall by the Boston Bruins in 2006. Around the same time, he was diagnosed with cancer. After being declared cancer-free, he joined the Bruins the following year. After the season's end, Kessel was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The distinction is meant to honor perseverance and sportsmanship among NHL players.

After his time with the Maple Leafs, which included two All-Star Game selections, Kessel joined the Pittsburgh Penguins. His tenure with Pittsburgh featured another All-Star pick and two Stanley Cup Championships. Kessel later spent time with the Arizona Coyotes before becoming a member of the Golden Knights.

In his Iron Man game on October 25, Kessel also nabbed another career highlight.

He notched his 400th career goal in the first period. This made him the 12th American-born player to score 400 goals in the history of the NHL.

Kessel has also been a member of two United States Olympic teams. This includes the 2010 Olympic silver medal team.

Comes from an athletic family

Phil Kessel was born in Madison, Wisconsin and raised in nearby Verona. He began his career in organized hockey with the youth team Madison Capitols. With the Capitols he was coached by Bob Suter. Suter was a member of the famed 1980 U.S. Olympic gold medal hockey team. Kessel would later credit him for his success in the NHL.

Kessel's father, Phil Sr., was a quarterback in the NFL. His brother, Blake, is a former professional hockey player and was drafted by the New York Islanders.

Their sister, Amanda, played professionally on the women's side. She's also been a mainstay on the national team, including helping win a gold and two silver Olympic medals. A cousin, David Moss, also played for several seasons in the NHL.