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Matt Cooke earned his reputation as an agitator for the Vancouver Canucks, but he has changed his game and is trying to change his image.

, Associated Press

Chart: Matt Cooke at a glance

  • September 16, 2013 - 9:24 PM

About Matt Cooke

Uniform number: 24.

Age: 35 (Sept. 7, 1978 in Belleville, Ont).

Ht.: 5-11 • Wt. : 208 • Position: LW

Drafted: Vancouver (144th overall, 1997).

Contract: 3 years, $7.5 million.

Family: Wife, Michelle. Children: Gabby (stepdaughter, 20), Reece (daughter, 12), Jackson (son, 9).

Stats: 14 years for Vancouver, Washington and Pittsburgh. 153 goals, 360 points, 1,068 penalty minutes in 935 regular-season games; 13 goals, 33 points, 129 penalty minutes in 97 playoff games; 1 Stanley Cup.

NHL discipline: Six suspensions totaling 25 regular-season games and seven playoff games. Most serious and recent came March 20, 2011, with a head shot on the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh. He was suspended 17 games, including seven playoff games. He hasn’t been suspended in two years since and hasn’t taken a major penalty in the regular season since.

Did you know?

• Cooke initially signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the contract somehow got lost on the desk of then-GM Cliff Fletcher, the father of Wild GM Chuck Fletcher, and wasn’t filed by the proper deadline. Cooke had to re-enter the draft, and after a huge year in Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League (45 goals, 95 points, 146 penalty minutes), was selected by the Canucks. “I’m might not be playing if that contract didn’t get lost. The Leafs would have had guys like Wendell Clark and Tie Domi ahead of me.”

• His son is an up-and-coming baseball star and huge fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cooke is friends with Justin Morneau, and the day after the Cooke family moved to Minnesota, Morneau was traded by the Twins to the Pirates.

• He and his wife started the Cooke Family Foundation of Hope in honor of their niece, Hope, who was stillborn. Cooke’s Corner has teamed with Heatley’s Heroes (Dany Heatley) by purchasing a suite at Xcel Energy Center.

Voices on Cooke: Said brother-in-law Brandon Foley: “He’s a very strong community guy, it’s a dichotomy between his on-ice persona and what he is off the ice. Obviously I’m biased. I love him. But there’s a reason why two teams (Vancouver and Pittsburgh) have kept him for extended lengths of period and why the Wild thinks there’s value in what he does. And he understands that. He plays on the edge, but he has transformed his game completely.”

MICHAEL RUSSO

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