Travis Zajac has played 15 NHL seasons, but he got the rookie treatment Sunday.
The New Jersey Devils center took a solo lap during warmups ahead of his 1,000th NHL game on Sunday.
Zajac has spent every game of his career with the Devils and became the second player from the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, behind Alex Ovechkin, of the host Washington Capitals, to reach the milestone.
The Devils donned t-shirts commemorating Zajac’s accomplishment.
“The lap, I didn’t know that was happening. I felt like, obviously, a rookie again,” Zajac said after New Jersey’s 4-3 loss to the Capitals. “It was awesome, and the equipment staff made the T-shirts, which … this organization has meant so much to me, and I’ve loved playing here and I want to leave it all out there for this team and they’ve given me my first chance, and it was just all around a special day.”
Zajac also earned shoutouts on social media from ex-teammate Bryce Salvador and Mr. Devil himself, Ken Daneyko.
Despite the loss, Zajac felt the love from the Devils.
“It wasn’t the result we hoped for. Nonetheless it was a special moment for me and one I’ll never forget,” Zajac said. “The guys and the organization did just a great job really making it a memorable event for me. It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”
– NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti contributed to this story.