Joe Thornton officially announced his retirement from the NHL in a style that is befitting of his laid-back personality.
Thornton, a veteran of 1,714 NHL games, posted a short, heartfelt message via the San Jose Sharks’ social media accounts.
🚨 Important Shirtless Jumbo Message 🚨 pic.twitter.com/ZQJxCSr8zm
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) October 28, 2023
“Hey. Judging how many people keep asking me, I guess I have to tell ya: I’m officially retired from the NHL. 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 the countless number of people that helped this kid’s dream become a reality. And if you’re looking for me, you know where to find me. I’ll be at the rink. Peace and love.”
Thornton is one of the greatest players of his generation, recording 430 goals and 1,539 points in a 24-year career primarily spent with the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks. He also had short stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers.
One of the best playmakers in NHL history, Thornton caught the attention of scouts during his OHL Draft year where he emerged virtually out of nowhere as a 15-year-old prospect squaring off against players several years his senior as a member of the Junior B St. Thomas Stars, then excelled in two OHL seasons with the Soo Greyhounds.
A prototypical power forward, Thornton was selected first overall by the Bruins in the 1997 NHL Draft and immediately cracked the NHL as a teenager. The pivot played sparingly during his rookie year and was outshone by teammate Sergei Samsonov, but he quickly developed into one of the NHL’s best scorers.
Boston dealt Thornton midway through the 2005-06 season to San Jose, where he became the first player in NHL history to lead the league in scoring despite being traded mid-season. The forward also won the Hart Trophy that year, cementing his place among his generation’s greats. He became one of the greatest players in Sharks history and helped the team make their first-ever Stanley Cup appearance in 2016, where they were ousted by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The London, Ont. native also won a gold medal at the 1997 World Juniors and later captured gold medals at the 2010 Olympics and 2016 World Cup of Hockey for Canada.
Affectionately known as 'Jumbo', Thornton was able to use his immense length and strength on the puck better than almost anyone to shield off defenders while looking for the perfect pass. He's likely to become a first-ballot member of the Hockey Hall of Fame once he becomes eligible.