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Arab Americans

Justin Abdelkader

Justin Abdelkader

Justin Abdelkader (/ˈæbdəlkdər/; born February 25, 1987) is an American ice hockey forward who is currently playing for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Playing career


Abdelkader played for the junior ice hockey Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League during his senior year of high school, scoring 27 goals and 52 points and helping the team win the 2004–05 Clark Cup Championship. He then began a three-year stint playing college ice hockey for the Michigan State Spartans men’s ice hockey team of what was then the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.[1]

On April 7, 2007, Abdelkader scored the game-winning goal in the 2007 NCAA Championship Game against Boston College, securing the NCAA Division 1 National Championship for Michigan State University and earning him the Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player. He scored the latest game-winning regulation goal ever scored in an NCAA Frozen Four championship game when he scored with just 18.9 seconds left.[citation needed]


Detroit Red Wings

Abdelkader was drafted 42nd overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

On April 3, 2008, Abdelkader signed a one-game amateur tryout with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League and was to play that night against theColumbus Blue Jackets. In doing so, he forfeited his college eligibility for the 2008–09 season. The following day, Abdelkader signed a three-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings.[2]

Abdelkader scored 24 goals for the Grand Rapids Griffins during the 2008–09 season and was one of the team’s best offensive players in the playoffs.[3]

On May 8, 2009, Abdelkader was brought up to the Red Wings as the replacement for Tomáš Kopecký, who sat out Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals series against the Anaheim Ducks. Coach Mike Babcock sent Abdelkader to replace Kopecký “because he’ll run over people. We expect him to play hard like Darren Helm. He’s on the forecheck and he’s a physical guy.”[4] During the game Abdelkader scored his first career point on an assist to Johan Franzén.

Abdelkader scored his first career NHL goal on May 30, 2009, in Game 1 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. After shooting the puck, he grabbed the rebound out of the air with his glove, dropped the puck, and beat Marc-André Fleury high stick side.[5][6] His second goal came nearly 24 hours later in the second game of the series, off of what commentators described as a “knuckle puck.” He carried the puck into the forward zone alone against three Penguins defenders and fired a slapshot past Fleury. He became the first rookie to score a goal in consecutive finals games since Minnesota‘s Dino Ciccarelli did it in 1981.[7]

During the 2009–10 season Justin played 50 games for the Red Wings scoring three goals, while adding three assists. Abdelkader was then re-signed by the Red Wings on a two-year extension worth $1.575 million.

The 2010–11 season was Abdelkader’s first full NHL season as a Red Wing. Abdelkader played in 74 games, scoring seven goals, and adding 12 assists.

During the 2011–12 season, he missed only one game, and finished the season with eight goals and 14 assists in 81 games.

On September 14, 2012, Abdelkader signed a four year, $7.2 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings.[8]

International play

Abdelkader was selected to play for the United States national team at the 2014 IIHF World Championship, where he was named team captain.[9] Abdelkader was suspended for one-game at the World Championships for a knee-to-knee hit infraction on Konstantin Pushkaryov in a game against Kazakhstan. Following Abdelkader’s one-game suspension, he returned for the game against Germany, where he scored two goals, including the game-winning goal, in the final group stage game to lead the United States to the quarterfinals.[10] During the United States’ quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic, Abdelkader was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for charging Vladimír Sobotka in the second period. In July 2014, the IIHF announced that he would be suspended for three-games at the 2015 IIHF World Championship for the hit on Sobotka (Adbelkader is only required to serve the suspension if he appears at that tournament).[11] Abdelkader finished the tournament with three goals and one assists in seven games.[12]Abdelkader was selected to play for the United States national junior team at the 2007 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Sweden.[1]

Personal life

Justin Abdelkader is the son of Joseph and Sheryl Abdelkader.[13] The surname Abdelkader is Arabic (from Jordan). His paternal grandfather, Yusuf Abdul Qadir (Anglicised to Joseph Abdelkader), emigrated from Jordan at the age of 19 to Muskegon, Michigan and married a Polish girl named Zuzanna (Susie).[14]

Abdelkader was born and raised in Norton Shores and graduated from Mona Shores High School in 2005. He was named to the all-state hockey team and awarded the Mr. Hockey award, given to the top high school ice hockey player in Michigan. During his senior year, he played for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL.

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2004–05 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders USHL 60 27 25 52 86 11 0 4 4 8
2005–06 Michigan State Spartans CCHA 44 10 12 22 83
2006–07 Michigan State Spartans CCHA 38 15 18 33 91
2007–08 Michigan State Spartans CCHA 42 19 21 40 107
2007–08 Detroit Red Wings NHL 2 0 0 0 2
2008–09 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 76 24 28 52 102 10 6 2 8 23
2008–09 Detroit Red Wings NHL 2 0 0 0 0 10 2 1 3 0
2009–10 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 33 11 13 24 86
2009–10 Detroit Red Wings NHL 50 3 3 6 35 11 1 1 2 36
2010–11 Detroit Red Wings NHL 74 7 12 19 61 11 0 0 0 22
2011–12 Detroit Red Wings NHL 81 8 14 22 62 5 0 0 0 2
2012–13 Detroit Red Wings NHL 48 10 3 13 34 12 2 1 3 33
2013–14 Detroit Red Wings NHL 70 10 18 28 31 5 0 2 2 6
2014–15 Detroit Red Wings NHL 71 23 21 44 72 5 0 2 2 6
NHL totals 398 61 71 132 297 59 5 7 12 105


Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2007 United States WJC 3rd 7 0 2 2 10
2012 United States WC 7th 8 1 3 4 4
2014 United States WC 6th 7 3 1 4 31
Junior totals 7 0 2 2 10
Senior totals 15 4 4 8 35

Awards and honors

Award Year
All-NCAA All-Tournament Team 2007 [15]


  1. Jump up to:a b “Player Bio:Justin Abdelkader”. MSU Athletics. 2006-01-01. Retrieved2006-12-29.
  2. Jump up^ “Kopecky done for rest of season; Abdelkader signed for three years”.
  3. Jump up^ “Rafalski, Draper, Kopecky won’t play Sunday”.
  4. Jump up^ Ted Kulfan, “Rafalski, Draper, Kopecky won’t play Sunday,” The Detroit News, May 8, 2009.
  5. Jump up^
  6. Jump up^
  7. Jump up^ “Griffins foursome keys Red Wings’ run for Cup” 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
  8. Jump up^ Abdelkader sig-year deal
  9. Jump up^ Abdelkader named captain for USA, May 9, 2014
  10. Jump up^ Abdelkader leads U.S. to win vs. Germans, May 21, 2014
  11. Jump up^ Leahy, Sean (July 29, 2014). “IIHF hands Justin Abdelkader three-game suspension for hit during 2014 Worlds”Yahoo Sports. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  12. Jump up^ Czechs drum USA out of World tourney, May 22, 2014
  13. Jump up^ Barnas, Jo-Ann (4 June 2009). “Muskegon’s Abdelkader has golden touch”.WZZM 13. Gannett. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  14. Jump up^ Dalton, Sean (26 July 2011). “Red Wings player Justin Abdelkader flies with Blue Angels” Heritage Newspapers. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  15. Jump up^ “NCAA Frozen Four Records” (PDF). Retrieved 2013-06-19.