HOCKEY

San Jose Sharks to retire Joe Thornton’s No. 19 next season

Jan 18, 2024, 1:00 PM

Former San Jose Sharks Joe Thornton #19 walks onto the ice to greet former teammate Patrick Marleau...

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 25: Former San Jose Sharks Joe Thornton #19 walks onto the ice to greet former teammate Patrick Marleau who's speaking during a pregame ceremony to retire his #12 jersey prior to the start of their game against the Chicago Blackhawks at SAP Center on February 25, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Former San Jose Sharks star Joe Thornton will have his number retired next season, becoming only the second player in franchise history to receive the honor.

A date has not been set for Thornton, who wore No. 19, to join Patrick Marleau (No. 12) as the only Sharks players to have their numbers in the rafters at the SAP Center.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to play in the National Hockey League for 24 seasons,” Thornton said in a team statement. “But when I came to San Jose, it felt like I was truly home. I fell in love with the area and the people, and I had the best years of my career wearing the Sharks crest.”

Thornton, 44, officially retired in October after a career that began in 1997 when the Boston Bruins drafted him No. 1 overall. After seven-plus seasons in Boston, he was dealt to the Sharks, where he spent the next 14-plus seasons as the face of the franchise. He was part of four division titles, a Presidents’ Trophy and a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2015-16.

“Jumbo was the best playmaker of his generation and I feel lucky to have gotten to play with and against him,” Sharks general manager Mike Grier said in a statement. “On the ice, his size, strength and IQ made him impossible to defend but off the ice, he was the most caring and generous teammate I have ever had. He’s a special player and person and is very deserving of this honor.”

The Hart Memorial Trophy and Art Ross Trophy winner in 2005-06, Thornton ranks first among Sharks in assists (804) and power-play points (402), second in points (1,055) and fourth in goals (251).

Thornton finished his career with 1,539 points (430 goals, 1,109 assists) in 1,714 games with the Bruins (1997-2005), Sharks (2005-20), Toronto Maple Leafs (2020-21) and Florida Panthers (2021-22).

–Field Level Media

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