GRAND RAPIDS – It takes more than skill to last 11 seasons in one organization, let alone 500 games with the same AHL team as Brian Lashoff accomplished Wednesday with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
“I think that speaks to his work ethic and how he takes care of himself and what a professional he is,” Griffins coach Ben Simon said after Lashoff pulled his regular shift on defense in a 4-1 win at home against Iowa.
Lashoff, the coach added, “has been a young guy coming into the league, a young guy fighting to stay in the league and now he’s a vet helping some of our younger guys develop into future NHL players. I think he takes that responsibility really seriously and I think he’s really good at it.”
Lashoff, an undrafted free agent signed in 2008, debuted with the Griffins late in 2009 and began in earnest with a full season in 2011-12. He is one of only three players on both Griffins’ Calder Cup championship teams in 2012-13 and 2016-77 (along with Nathan Paetsch and Mitch Callahan).
He has served with the Detroit Red Wings as well through the years, playing 136 games – including the entire 2013-14 season – as a steady fill-in. The number includes nine games with the Red Wings this season.
Lashoff’s 500 games place him second on the Griffins’ all-time list, behind 655 by Travis Richards (1996-2006). He is the longest active serving AHL player with one team. For a unique perspective, the most recent player with a longer stint is Bill Needham, the all-time leader of 981 games with the Cleveland Barons. His career ended in 1971.
Lashoff has no intention of slowing down.
“I love playing in this city and I love winning in this city. It’s been like a second home for me, and now my wife,” he said. “So, I’ll play until they tell me I can’t. That’s the mindset I’ll have. I still feel great, my body feels great.”
Lashoff won’t go anywhere soon. The organization signed him to a two-year contract extension last March.
Oh, and one more thing: He’s also 29 years old.
Lashoff smiled at that.
“I think a lot of people might think I’m a little older for the amount of games I’ve played here.”
In the video above, Lashoff talks about the milestone.