Joe Thornton, one of the longest-tenured skaters in National Hockey League history, officially announced his retirement on Saturday.
In a video message shared by the San Jose Sharks, the 44-year-old Thornton officially announced the end of his long career.
“Judging by how many people keep asking me, I think I’d have to tell you that I’m officially retired from the NHL,” Thornton said jokingly, shirtless and wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
“I thought you guys would have figured it out sooner, but you kept asking – so here I am, retiring. “I have so much love for the game of hockey and for [a] countless people who helped make this child’s dream come true.
“And if you’re looking for me, you know where to find me. I’ll be at the rink. Peace and love.’
Joe Thornton officially announced his retirement from the NHL after more than 1,700 games
Thornton, the last active NHL player to play in the 1990s, logged 1,714 regular season games and 187 playoff games over 25 seasons on the show.
He had not played a single game this NHL season and had not signed a contract with any team.
He played for four different teams in all 24 seasons – but he was best known for his time with the San Jose Sharks.
He finishes his career with the sixth-most games played in NHL history, just 17 games behind Ron Francis for fifth place and 65 games behind fellow Shark Patrick Marleau for the all-time games played record.
Thornton’s 1,109 assists are good for seventh all-time and his 1,539 points are good for 12th all-time.
The Boston Bruins selected Thornton first overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft and immediately put him to work.
Shortly before the 2002-03 season, the man known as “Jumbo Joe” was named the Bruins’ 24th captain.
In the middle of the 2005-06 season, Thornton became dissatisfied with the direction of the franchise.
The Boston Bruins selected Thornton first overall in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft
After eight seasons in Boston, Thornton was traded to the San Jose Sharks for three players
Thornton was traded to the San Jose Sharks in November 2005 in exchange for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart.
In eight seasons in Boston, he recorded 532 games, 169 goals and 285 assists for a total of 454 points for the Bruins. He also scored 18 points in 35 playoff games.
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