Sharks icon Joe Thornton officially retires from NHL in heartfelt post

Sharks icon Joe Thornton officially retires from NHL in heartfelt post originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

After an incredible career spanning 24 seasons in the NHL, former San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton has officially announced his retirement from professional hockey.

Thornton made the emotional announcement in a video shared on the Sharks’ social media accounts, bringing an end to the career of one of the most beloved athletes in Bay Area history. It was evident from the number of inquiries that Thornton received that he felt compelled to address his retirement and express his gratitude to all those who helped him achieve his dreams.

“Hey, judging how many people keep asking me, I guess I have to tell you, I’m officially retiring from the NHL,” said Thornton. “I thought you guys would have figured it out sooner, but you kept asking, so here I am retiring. I have an immense amount of love for the game of hockey and the countless people who supported me throughout my journey. And if you’re looking for me, you know where to find me. I’ll be at the rink. Peace and love.”

Affectionately known as “Jumbo,” Thornton was selected as the first-overall pick in the 1997 NHL Draft by the Boston Bruins. However, it was his trade to the San Jose Sharks in November 2005 that solidified his place as a franchise icon.

Thornton’s impact on the Sharks organization was immediate and remarkable. He recorded a league-leading 125 points in his first season with the team, earning the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player for the 2005-06 season. Over the course of 15 years, Thornton appeared in 1,248 games for San Jose and served as the team’s captain for four seasons from 2010 to 2014.

During his time with the Sharks, Jumbo amassed an impressive 1,055 points, ranking second in franchise history. His exceptional 804 assists set a new record for the team, solidifying his reputation as a talented playmaker on the ice.

After leaving San Jose at the end of the 2019-2020 NHL season, Thornton played for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers before ultimately deciding to retire. His last NHL appearance was on May 5, 2022.

In his illustrious career, Thornton secured his place as the 12th-highest scorer in NHL history, tallying 1,539 points across 1,714 regular-season games.

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