Math was never one of Milan Lucic’s favourite subjects, especially after Ms. Agadachi took time out of her Grade 10 class to throw some oddly specific stats his way.

“She showed me the population of the world and the statistics of how many people end up making the NHL, basically trying to give me the reality of the situation,” recalled the 32-year-old Flames winger of a memorable exchange 17 years ago at Vancouver’s Killarney Secondary.

“I don’t want to say she doubted me, but I kind of just smiled and laughed at her and said, ‘Well, somebody’s got to make it.’”

Against all odds, he was convinced he’d be that ‘somebody.’

“I was always the kid who believed in myself, regardless of not getting drafted in the WHL or playing for the best organizations or team as a kid,” said Lucic, reflecting on the ride that led to his 14-year NHL career.

“Whenever anyone asked me, ‘What are you going to be when you grow up?’ There was only one answer. I never had a backup plan.”

Turns out he didn’t need one, as East Vancouver’s biggest dreamer will hit a nice round number Tuesday in Toronto when he plays his 1,000th NHL game.