On Friday, Ben Holmstrom will play in his 200th game with the Adirondack Phantoms, a huge milestone in and of itself. But what makes it an even bigger milestone is the fact that he will be the first player ever to do so.
In honor of this major achievement, here’s a look back at Holmstrom’s career:
The Colorado Springs native got his start in the United States Hockey League, where he spent three seasons with the Sioux Falls Stampede. In 2006, he started at UMass-Lowell, and was a standout player during his four years with the school. He recorded 84 points in 144 games at the college level and signed an entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers in March of 2010 after a strong final collegiate season in which he received the Best Defensive Forward award from the Hockey East Association.
After his first two seasons with the Phantoms, in which he racked up a total of 41 points and 84 penalty minutes in 92 games and had his first NHL call-up, Holmstrom was named Captain, becoming the youngest player to hold the title in team history at the age of 24. The captaincy was not new territory for Holmstrom, as he served as captain for three of his four years with UMass-Lowell.
In his first season as captain, Holmstrom recorded 41 points and 134 penalty minutes in 67 games, and also appeared in five games for the Flyers (he’d appeared in two the previous season for a total of seven career NHL games, in which he recorded seven penalty minutes but zero points).
His 2012-2013 season was cut short due to a knee injury he sustained in a game against the Syracuse Crunch on December 8, 2012 that required surgery. Holmstrom missed the rest of that season as he recovered.
In his first game returning from that injury, Holmstrom scored a goal on his very first shift of the 2013-2014 season against the Hershey Bears on October 5. So far this season, he’s tallied a total of nine points and 49 penalty minutes in 18 games.
As everyone knows, numbers don’t always tell the full story of what a player brings to the team. While Holmstrom’s numbers may not make him seem like captain material to the naked eye, he is a bona fide leader both on and off the ice.
In the team’s most recent game, Wednesday night’s against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, he hyped up not only his teammates but the Adirondack fans as well. Late in the first period, with the game tied 1-1, he dropped the gloves with Bobby Farnham. When the two men were separated, Holmstrom sped off the ice to the locker room, raising his hands in the air to several different sections at the Glens Falls Civic Center to call for even more support.
Holmstrom’s emotion, leadership, and talent make him a promising player on the Phantoms with a potential to reach the NHL level again in his career. This 200-game milestone he will reach on Friday night, and the resulting spot in the team’s record books, is truly well-deserved.