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It’s Been “Hard” Year for Marleau



It’s been a hard year for Patrick Marleau.

At the end of the 2020-21 season, the San Jose Sharks’ 1997 first-round pick made it clear that he wanted to come back for his 24th NHL season.

“I was not happy with my play, with the results I got this year,” Marleau said of his four-goal campaign in his May exit interview. “There were some pretty sleepless nights with that. I’m looking forward to a rebound season next year.”

But that call from an NHL team to come back never came. So today, officially, almost a full calendar year since his last NHL game on May 12, 2021, the All-Time Games Played record holder announced his retirement before family, friends, old San Jose Sharks teammates, season ticket holders, and local media. “Mr. Shark” will retire with 1,779 games played, 566 goals scored, and 1,179 points, most of those accumulated, naturally, as a member of the San Jose Sharks.

“It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. It’s been hard. I won’t lie,” Marleau said this morning about not playing. “I think a lot of people sometimes say, oh yeah, everything’s okay. But it’s been difficult.

“I’ve played this game pretty much all my life and love it.”

He added: “I felt like I could still play, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

It was a retirement decision a year in the making.

“A couple of weeks ago,” he shared of when he was ready. “I think I knew that I was going to retire a long time ago, but finally building up enough courage to get up here and speak, announce my retirement.”

There was a flirtation to be part of Team Canada in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

“There was some talk, but it was just everything that was going on in the world. We just decided not to,” he said of a process that never got as far as a formal invitation.

It was unsaid a month ago, when Patrick Marleau and his wife Christina, along with their boys Landon, Brody, Jagger, and Caleb, visited long-time teammate Joe Thornton and his family in Florida.

SJHN Daily: Marleau Visits Jumbo, Anna Kane Sticks It to Evander, Bordeleau’s Drip

“We didn’t really talk about it, but obviously, he knew about it,” Marleau said.

And say it he did, with eloquence, in a Player’s Tribune essay this morning titled “Thank You, Hockey”:

So how does Patrick Marleau want to be remembered by hockey fans?

“That he left everything out there, competing,” he told us, after an introspective pause.

“The next step is just spend some time with the family and coaching my kids,” Marleau shared. “I don’t know what the future will hold, but my wife seems to think somewhere down the road, I’ll be back in hockey somehow.”

And will his next time at SAP Center be for his jersey retirement ceremony?

Sharks president Jonathan Becher suggested as much: “I’m sure we’ll have the opportunity to do something appropriate next year, once we know what the season schedule looks like.”

“That would be unbelievable,” Marleau said, eyes sparkling. “It’s another dream kids have. You want to play [in the NHL] and you’re like, how cool would that be? To get your jersey retired?”

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They should have let him play the 2021-2022 season. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t have. He in his 40’s was better than most on the team in their 20’s. Should have let him play when they traded Cogs. Ridiculous- he would have been perfect for the 4th line. Sad to see him having to end it the way it did with 6-0 beat down by Vegas


Absolutely. Was one of the saddest games I have ever been too. Just got sad thinking about it.


And Thornton isn’t blocking a player? He’s played 32 games and not one playoff game. He’s on the team by name only. I can’t see if the Panthers win that I’ll be all excited for him when he didn’t contribute and grind with the team. Marleau a much better skater still at 42. It’s just sad that Sharks couldn’t just let him play one more season. Cogs did nothing that Marleau couldn’t do better.

David Gotlieb

Because of the ironman streak the sharks wouldn’t have benched patty unlike fla who could bench jumbo whenever

david barnard

i’m on the fence about the jersey retirement thing. that kind of thing denies young players the opportunity to carry on with a favorite number, so it had better be for a big time player, and i’m not sure PM qualifies. if he makes it into the HHoF, perhaps i’ll feel differently. the only former Shark i’d entertain the idea for is Jumbo at this point. no Shark has helped bring home the SC so far, so i dunno. i think Jumbo’s a lock for the HHoF and perhaps Burns too. we’ll see…


I have a hard time if the Panthers win the SC that Jumbo should be part of it. I mean he’s only played 32 games with the team and no playoff games. So I hope the Panthers don’t win anyways whether Jumbo was on the team or not. I like the Canes.


Raise 12 to the rafters. It’s one number but it belongs to Mr. Shark. In many years, new fans will wonder who Patrick Marleau was and this is the best way to keep him out there.

david barnard

i’m sure you didn’t mean to be ironical, but that’s also an argument against deserving to have his number retired. the argument will be made that not having won a SC is no reason to hold it against a player as that’s a team accomplishment, not individual one. however, in PM’s case that’s all the hardware (team accomplishments) he has to his name, other than the most NHL games played and whose gonna remember a player for that alone? others will bring up that PM played during the dreaded “clutch and grab era”, but so did Peter (the great) Forsberg… Read more »

david barnard

that’s a good point, SP. i do give him consideration for showcasing what the consummate pro athlete should be/is. i ALWAYS defended him against “lack of passion” criticism, as well against being non “clutch”. his number of GW goals speaks to the latter. his quiet/stoic professionalism, in my mind at least, represented the Sharks org/fandom quite well. that’s why i’m on the fence about it. still, i struggle to find an argument for him performance side of things. to not trivialize these things, HHoF/retiring numbers, etc. PM wasn’t ever the best among his NHL peers, but even more glaring is… Read more »


If any young player wears number #12 would probably get the stink eye from the fans lol. Look what happened to Dell couldn’t wear his #30 because it belonged to Ryan Miller – yeah fans wouldn’t be so kind to the young player wearing #12 so might as well have a ceremony for it. But I do agree something would spark a young player to pay homage and play strong wearing #12 or #19.


Absolutely agree. #12 is Mr. Shark. He’s one of the few numbers that should be in our rafters.

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