Last time, we took a look at the curious career of defenseman Peter Andersson. Today, we look at a forward who only played two games with the Washington Capitals, but has a story that we can all appreciate: Mel Angelstad.
Mel Angelstad’s Journey To The NHL
Mel Angelstad is sort of a Crash Davis. He spent 16 years playing professional hockey in a variety of leagues, including the MJHL, IHL, and the AHL before finally getting to play in the NHL. Angelstad was an enforcer. Like most enforcers, Angelstad had the tendency to rack up penalty minutes. However, Angelstad racked up penalty minutes in an extremely impressive manner. Four times in his career, Angelstad finished with over 400 penalty minutes in one season. His career high in points? 38.
Mel Angelstad’s Capitals Career
I attended one of Mel Angelstad’s two games with the Capitals (this one to be specific). Two things about him stood out to me at the time: He was 31 years old when he made his debut, and of course as a teenager at the time, I couldn’t forget that he wore number 69. He’s the first NHL player to ever wear number 69. I could talk about Mel Angelstad’s brief two game tenure with the Capitals, but I think three of his teammates with the Capitals would do a much better job than me at that. Brendan Witt, one of the alternate captains, had this to say:
Defenseman Rick Berry had this to say about Mel Angelstad:
Only know him a little but great guy
Jeff Halpern, another one of the alternate captains at the time, had this to say about Mel:
“When [Mel] got called up towards the end of the 2003-2004 season, now this is before camera phones and the such, he went up and down the plane, taking pictures of everything… taking pictures of the guys, the card table, just everything. He was taking pictures in the locker room… it was such a wake-up call to realize how much it means to play in the NHL… he was an older player, he was so humbled and excited to get to play in the NHL. I’ve never forgotten how special it was to have him be around the Capitals. He reminded me how special it is to get to play in the NHL. He definitely had an impact on me.”
Mel Angelstad might have only played two games in the NHL, but judging by what three of his former teammates said, he impacted a lot of people’s lives. In the end, I think that’s what’s important. Mel only played two games in the NHL, but he’ll never be forgotten. Here’s an interview with him from his first game: