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Karlis Skrastins of the Colorado Avalanche is honoured during a pre-game ceremony Thursday. ((Doug Pensinger/Getty Images))

Colorado Avalanche defenceman Karlis Skrastins broke Tim Horton's longstanding NHL ironman record for defencemen on Thursday night.

The Avalanche blue-liner played in his 487th consecutive regular-season game against the Atlanta Thrashers Thursday in Denver, eclipsing the record set by Horton from Feb. 11, 1961, to Feb. 4, 1968.

Skrastins, a native of Latvia, joined the Nashville Predators in 1999, and has missed only one game during his seven seasons in the NHL: on Feb. 18, 2000, he sat out against St. Louis because of a shoulder injury.

Skrastins, 32, started his ironman streak three days later on the 26th anniversary of Horton's death in an automobile accident outside St. Catharines, Ont.

"I don't have a big secret," Skrastins said earlier this week. "Maybe just hard work and a lot of effort."

Skrastins' streak is even more impressive when consideringhe has played through many injuries, including a broken wrist and a bum knee that needed surgery.

"I love what I do, and … pain is part of our hockey game," Skrastins said.

Horton, playing with the Buffalo Sabres at the time, was killed in a one-car accident on Feb. 21, 1974, while on his way home from a game. He was 44.

Skrastins still has a long way to go to break the NHL's overall ironman record.

Forward Doug Jarvis played in 964 consecutive games over 13 seasons from 1975-87.