Flyers decide to end Keith Yandle’s record ironman streak: ‘I don’t really know if it’s hit me completely’

keith yandle iron-man streak ends
Mar 20, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes (13) and defenseman Keith Yandle (3) celebrate win against the New York Islanders at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Keith Yandle’s NHL-record ironman streak of 989 consecutive games played will come to an end Saturday night. The decision was made by the Philadelphia Flyers as an organization, but still seems like a stunning choice.

Philadelphia was eliminated from playoff contention last week after a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota, which makes Yandle being a healthy scratch even more perplexing.

The veteran defender spoke with the media today after learning his streak was coming to an end.

“I don’t really know if it’s hit me completely,” Yandle said Saturday via NHL.com. “I don’t know yet, I don’t know when it will. It’s kind of one of those things during it, I didn’t really try to think about it too much just to kind of go out and play. Maybe now the next day or two it might hit me.”

Flyers decide to end Keith Yandle’s ironman streak

Interim coach Mike Yeo confirmed that Yandle will miss his first game since March 22, 2009, when Philadelphia hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yandle missed practice Friday with a reported illness, but NHL.com said Saturday that he will be a healthy scratch.

“(He’s) obviously disappointed, which you would expect from a competitor and a hockey player that’s been doing that for as long as he has,” Yeo told reporters Saturday morning. “My only hope is that he recognizes just how amazing it is what he’s done.

“Obviously, for sure for him it’s disappointing, no question. But not many people can say that they’ve done something that nobody in the history of the NHL has ever done. And so no way does this diminish what he’s accomplished. It is remarkable and certainly something to be extremely proud of.”

Ronnie Attard, 23, is expected to make his NHL debut in place of Yandle.

“What went into the decision, we’re at the point in the season where as an organization, it’s important that we get some young players in,” Yeo said. “Not to say that we’re not playing hard with what’s going on right now, but obviously we have to have an eye on the future and what’s coming down the road. To give some new guys an opportunity.”

Keith Yandle takes a lot of pride in his streak

Keith Yandle ironman streak
Jan 25, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle (3) stands for the nation anthem and breaks the record for 965 consecutive starts before the first period at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Yandle, 35, broke the record when he played in his 965th straight game on Jan. 25 against the New York Islanders in Elmont, N.Y. Doug Jarvis previously held the mark of 964, set from 1975-87 with three different teams.

Yandle has 15 points (one goal, 14 assists) in 67 games this season, his first with Philadelphia. He has 615 points (103 goals, 512 assists) in 1,099 games with the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Flyers.

“Obviously something I take a lot of pride in. I’m fortunate to play one game in this league. I say it all the time, I’ve been blessed to be in this league as long as I have. I owe pretty much my whole life to this league. It’s been a great journey too. You look back and you think about your first game, and then it’s one of those things that the last couple days have been a lot of reflecting and I’m not really a guy who reflects too much.”

Keith Yandle, NHL.com

Coyotes forward Phil Kessel is second in consecutive NHL games played with 968.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report.