Making it official, Joe Thornton ends his lengthy NHL career by retiring……

SACRAMENTO, California Joe Thornton, one of the best playmakers in the NHL for 24 years, has formally announced his retirement from the league.

Thornton, 44, hasn’t played since the 2021–22 season with Florida, but he didn’t formally announce his intentions until the San Jose Sharks released a video on Saturday.

“Judging how many people keep asking me, I guess I have to tell you, I’m officially retiring from the NHL,” Thornton stated. “I retired because I assumed you folks would figure it out sooner, but you continued asking. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who made this child’s dream come true as well as to the game of hockey. You know where to search if you’re trying to find me. I’m going to the rink.

Thornton began his NHL career as the No. 1 overall choice by Boston in 1997, enjoyed his greatest success in 15 seasons with San Jose after being traded to the Sharks, and then played one season each in Toronto and Florida to cap up his professional career.

In 1,714 regular-season games, he scored 430 goals and provided 1,109 assists. In addition to being a four-time All-Star and a 2010 Olympic gold medallist for Canada, he was dealt early in the 2005–06 season from Boston to San Jose and went on to win the MVP and Art Ross trophies as scoring leader.

Thornton is ranked sixth in games played, seventh in assists, and 12th in points (1,539) all-time.

Thornton’s sole disappointment was not being able to win a Stanley Cup; he was defeated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Sharks’ lone trip to the championship round in 2016.

However, after being acquired from Boston on November 30, 2005, Thornton became the face of the Sharks franchise with his flawless playmaking and recognizable beard.

Before Thornton joined the Sharks, San Jose had only had patchy success; nevertheless, during his tenure, the team qualified for the postseason in all but two of those seasons. In addition to helping the club win the Presidents’ Trophy in 2008–09 for having the best record, he also helped them qualify for the conference finals twice in 2010 and 11, a trip to the Western Conference final in 2016 and the Stanley Cup Final in 2019.

One day, his number 19, along with the number 12 of his former running partner Patrick Marleau, who retired earlier this year, will be hoisted to the rafters at the Shark Tank.


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