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GOTTA SEE IT: Sharks Retire Patrick Marleau’s Jersey



Credit: Hockey Shots/Dean Tait

The San Jose Sharks’ retirement of Patrick Marleau’s no. 12 jersey did not leave a dry eye in the audience.

The organization pulled out all the stops for their first jersey retirement in franchise history. San Jose Sharks front office members and former players made appearances as part of the on-ice audience, including Mike Grier, Tim Burke, Evgeni Nabokov, Mike Ricci, Ryan Clowe, Douglas Murray, and Owen Nolan.

There was three especially heartfelt speeches, chosen by Marleau before his own introduction, given by important figures in Marleau’s NHL career. Kelly Hrudey who joined the Sharks for just two seasons of his 15-year NHL career, hosted Marleau in his rookie season. Marleau matured into an NHL’er under the wing of the veteran goaltender. Marleau would later reveal a fun story about the two: Hrudey convinced him to purchase a Corvette instead of an SUV during that rookie season.

Another figure Marleau wanted to highlight was former head coach Todd McLellan. The current Los Angeles Kings head coach could not appear in-person at SAP Center but still gave a speech that appeared on the scoreboard. McLellan noted Marleau’s work-ethic led to his lengthy and historic career, but doubled as an example for all teammates to follow.

Joe Thornton’s speech left both him and Marleau with teary eyes. Thornton noted his bond with Marleau began ahead of the 1997 NHL Draft, where they would be the first and second-overall picks. But when they became teammates and roommates during road trips, their friendship went to a new level. Thornton recognized Marleau’s character as both a teammate and friend.

When Marleau took the podium, he was quick to thank many of the figures that shaped him into the player and person he is today:

He thanked the late Bryan Marchment first. “Mush” was a longtime teammate of Marleau and also helped in Patrick secure his first date with his eventual wife, Christina. Marleau mentioned the importance of his agent Don Baizley, who passed away in 2013. “He was not just my agent, but my confidant, a friend, and trusted adviser.” On these individuals, Marleau said: “Both of these men are truly missed here, tonight.”

Throughout his speech, Marleau thanked countless other pivotal influences during his hockey career. By name, he mentioned each coach he played under and an impact they had on his career. He thanked former general managers Dean Lombardi and Doug Wilson.

Marleau shouted out Seattle Thunderbirds teammate Tony Mohagen. “Tony and I met when were 14, 15 years old,” said Marleau. “Tony has been not just a rock to me, but to my family.” Marleau shared that one year during the playoffs, Mohagen left his home in Edmonton to help care for Patrick’s sons and pregnant wife.

By name, Marleau shouted out teammates and friends such as Ricci, Adam Graves, Grier, Marco Sturm, Nolan, Scott Hannan, Shawn Heins, Thornton, and Rob Blake, all in attendance. “Each of you, and those who couldn’t be here tonight, on me both on the ice and in my personal life. I’m honored that you are all here tonight.”

“To all my teammates during my career, thank you for being part of my dream come true. I am beyond privileged to have been part of so many great locker rooms and amazing teams,” Marleau added.

Marleau took time to thank his family, especially his parents Denis and Jeanette for helping him play hockey as a child in Saskatchewan. Patrick also thanked his siblings Denise and Richard for helping with his chores while he was busy with hockey. “They did it without complaining,” said Marleau.

“Richard, thank you for making me tough. I don’t know if I’d have the pain tolerance I have today if it wasn’t for you,” Patrick joked.

The all-time leader in NHL games played reflected that his time in hockey did take away some experiences with his four sons. “I wasn’t the dad who could coach or go on field trips, so there was countless events I missed: Concerts, plays, hockey and baseball games.”

“You never complained,” Marleau said of his sons Landon, Brody, Jagger, and Caleb. “Instead, [you] asked to come to my games, my practices…You supported me and cheered me on every single day. Now, it’s my turn to do that for you. I have been given a chance to be part of your lives in a way that I wasn’t able to while I was playing… I’m looking forward to supporting your dreams. I’ll always be your biggest fan.”

Marleau also shared his love for his wife Christina. “I really don’t know what I did to deserve someone like you. You’ve seen me at my best. You’ve seen me at my worst. You’ve loved and supported me through it all.”

“When you look up at that jersey, I pray that you know how much your hard work and sacrifice it took for this to be possible. Thank you for choosing me to be your linemate for life,” Marleau said.

As he concluded his speech, Marleau quoted from his article in The Players Tribune: “Thank you, hockey. For the lessons. The laughs. The tears. You let me live out my dreams.”

Marleau was also joined by Bay Area sports icons Rollie Fingers, Chris Mullin, and Barry Bonds, who all have their jerseys retired by their respective Bay Area teams. They entered the ice just prior to the ceremony’s conclusion.

The San Jose Sharks legend embraced his family and watched as his no. 12 sailed to the rafters of a rink and arena that changed his life. As Marleau put it: “It was in this very rink that I grew from a boy with stars in his eyes, to a man, a husband, and to a father. This will always be home to me. Thank you for this honor of a lifetime.”

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