Greg Pankewicz has had a career many people can only dream of. After 16 years, he shows no signs of stopping.
Pankewicz, the captain of the Colorado Eagles hockey team, is off to an amazing start. Already this season, the 36-year-old has reached two major milestones.
During the Eagles’ first regular season game on Oct. 20, Pankewicz scored his 1,000th point.
Two weeks later, on Nov. 4, he scored his 500th goal, becoming only the 58th professional hockey player to do so, according to a statement by the Eagles organization.
With these accomplishments, Pankewicz became the only player in professional hockey history to have 500 goals, 500 assists, 1,000 points and rack up more than 3,000 penalty minutes.
The Eagles, as a team, are glad to have a player like Pankewicz on the ice.
“He is our leader,” said Eagles assistant captain Riley Nelson. “When he is out there, we follow him. He is out there hitting, carrying the puck and standing up for guys. That is why he is wearing captain on his jersey.”
“He has accomplished a lot of things in his career,” said Eagles Head Coach Chris Stewart. “We are happy to have him here.”
The 6 foot, 205-pound Canadian has had an impressive career. During his 16 years playing professional hockey, Pankewicz has been with 13 different teams in six different leagues. He has also spent some time in the National Hockey League, playing for the Ottawa Senators during the 1993-94 season and the Calgary Flames during 1998-99.
Pankewicz has finally found a home with the Eagles, playing with the team since its opening season in 2003.
“This is the only team he has been with that he has lasted more than two years within his whole hockey life,” Stewart said. “I think this is a spot we are able to recognize the accolades he has achieved.”
Pankewicz stays humble, even with all of his accomplishments. He gives much of the credit to his supporting cast.
“I have played with a lot of great players,” Pankewicz said. “I get the same opportunities here with Riley Nelson, Ryan Tobler, Brad Williamson and the guys I get to play with. It makes it a lot easier and a lot of fun.”
The statistic-producing machine is not done reaching milestones. The Eagles will play the New Mexico Scorpions in back-to-back games today and Saturday. Saturday will be Pankewicz’s 1,000th professional hockey game. The two teams have already squared off once this year, with the Eagles winning 6-3.
Pankewicz stays focused with his championship mentality. He doesn’t value his individual successes, but instead takes pride in the team’s accomplishments. He has already helped to get the team off to a 5-1 start this season and is aiming to win another championship.
“Our 2005 championship still looks a lot better to me,” he said.
Eagles Beat Reporters Adam Bohlmeyer and Brandon Owens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org