One of the greatest pride and joy born to Canadian ice hockey, Joe Thornton rarely brought up this secret: He has US citizenship despite having become a true star of Canadian hockey! Over the course of his many-year career, the forward has performed well in the Boston “Bears” and has spent the past 14 seasons in the San Jose “Shark” camp. He has won victories at the Olympics and the World Cups of hockey. So, let’s get into these 10 things about the legend that will make you an even bigger fan!
Joe Thornton: Do You Know These 10 Facts That Shaped His Career?
1. A legendary player is born:
Born in Canada, Joe Thornton came into this world in Southwestern Ontario, on July 2, 1979. His childhood was spent in the suburb of St. Thomas (Ontario), where the boy started playing hockey. In terms of his schooling, the future legend first was educated at a local school, and then continued his studying at the Elgin Institute, located in St. Thomas. As you know, hockey in Canada receives attention at all levels. There are school clubs, as well as college and university teams, that play in many student leagues in the Canadian provinces. After graduating from school, Joe Thornton played hockey for the St. Thomas Travelers team and then joined the Elgin Middlesex Student Chefs Club. From the age of 15, the Center forward began defending the colors of the St. Thomas Stars team, which played in one of Ontario’s Canadian leagues.
2. Young Joe Thornton’s NHL career is now fully actualized:
Even in children’s and youth clubs, Joe Thornton’s playing potential was visible. His talent was developing rapidly and the hard work on the ice racks as part of the training process has helped him progress every year. Thornton has gradually become one of the most desirable newcomers to National Hockey League teams.
Thornton scored 71 goals in two seasons during a successful game in the Ontario Hockey League and allowed 127 assists, determined as Joe’s best score in the 1997 NHL Draft.
3. His drafting debut:
Thornton was selected first in the 1997 draft and began his career for the Boston Bruins team who had selected this attacker in the first round under a first common number. Such a high position in the National Hockey League draft goes exclusively to the most promising players in world hockey.
In Boston, Joe Thornton played 55 games in the first season, playing eight seasons with the Boston Bruins. The striker’s performance was very modest for such prowess: only three goals with four assists. In his next season in the NHL, Thornton got used to it and started showing more productive hockey. During the 1998-1999 season, the center forward played 81 regular season games and scored 41 points (16 + 25). Over the following seasons at Bruins, Thornton’s stats continued to improve. The striker from 1999 to 2004 did not score less than twenty goals for the “smooth” championship. The Canadian achieved the best performance indicator in the 2000-2001 championship, when he scored 37 goals in 72 games. Thornton’s sports biography in Boston includes the season when the striker crossed the hundred point mark for the championship “smoothly”. This happened in 2002-03, when Joe was able to gain 101 points (36 + 65) on the goals + assists system.
In 2004, the NHL League was overtaken by a lockout, in which Joe Thornton spent a season in Switzerland, playing for the local “Davos”. After a European experience, Joe returned to Boston.
4. Joe Thornton’s 15 year career with the Sharks and TML:
During the 2005-06 season, the Canadian forward joined the San Jose Sharks team. From then until now, Thornton has been one of the club’s leaders and its legend. During his first seasons, Thornton made a significant personal contribution to the overall performance of “Sharks”. His statistics are impressive. In the first year, the Canadian scored 92 points (20 + 72) in 58 games, in the second season – 114 points (22 + 92), in the 2007-2008 playing year – 96 points (29 + 67).
Over the course of his career, Joe Thornton won the award, which is awarded to the NHL’s most productive regular season player – the Art Ross Trophy (2006-2007 season).
Despite his leadership qualities, Joe Thornton has yet to lead the “San Jose” for many seasons to win the Stanley Cup. Although the “Sharks” played in the final, they were lower in the deciding streak.
5. Career between 2018 and 2019:
During the 2018-19 National Hockey League regular season, Thornton appeared in 73 games. On the ice in those games, the center forward has scored 16 goals and provided 35 assists. The player’s advantage for the team over the last season is also displayed by statistics. The Canadian has an overall utility score of +8.
Joe Thornton’s career is still ongoing and his overall NHL stats are already some of the best in any hockey history. He has played over 1,500 regular league games, over 160 Stanley Cup playoff games (in 2019, “San Jose” continues to fight for the main hockey club trophy). More than four hundred times with his precise throws he reached the opponent’s goal and more than a thousand times helped his teammates.
6. In 2020, he played for Toronto:
After the 2019/20 season, the Canadian hockey player’s expiring contract in San Jose was not renewed, so he joined the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent and signed a one-year contract there. Shortly before, it was also announced that he would play again for HC Davos in Switzerland until the start of the following season 2020/21, which is still unclear. After a year in Toronto, in which the team failed in the first round of the playoffs, he moved to the Florida Panthers in the same way in August 2021.
7. One-year contract with the Panthers:
Aged 42, Joe Thornton signed a one year contract with the Florida Panthers on Aug 13, 2021. Thornton would go on to don the colors of a fourth team in the NHL having amassed more than 1,529 career points, the highest total of any active player on the Bettman Tour.
The veteran center occupies the 14th rank in league history in scoring and 13 players were inducted before him to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“With over 1,600 games played in the NHL, Joe will bring a lot of experience to our locker room and training,” said Panthers general manager Bill Zito. His desire for success is unmistakable and we are delighted that he has chosen to sign a contract with our team and that he believes in what we are building here.”
Did you know? Joe Thornton brought to Canada an Olympic gold medal playing for his home country of Canada in 2010 and was also named the NHL’s Most Valuable Player in 2005-06, when he finished atop the scorers.
9. Personal facts about his family:
Thornton’s cousin Scott Thornton was also a professional ice hockey player. Both played together for the San Jose Sharks in the 2005/06 season. Scott Thornton ended his career in the summer of 2008 after 1,020 appearances in the NHL. Cody Thornton, Joe Thornton’s nephew, played for EV Landshut between 2010 and 2016.
Married to a Swiss woman named Tabea Pfendsack, Joe Thornton has a Swiss passport and also a US passport (since 2009).
10. On the international stage:
Thornton played in a total of seven tournaments for the Canadian national team, including one in the junior division.
For the first time, Thornton made an international appearance at the Junior World Cup in Switzerland in 1997, when he won the gold medal with the team after a 2-0 final victory over the US team. The then 17-year-old scored four points in seven games.
At its first senior tournament, the 2001 World Cup in Germany, the Canadian team was disappointed with a fifth-place and the center also remained rather pale with two points from six games. Thornton showed a significant increase three years later at the World Cup of Hockey 2004 when he won the gold medal and he contributed six points in six games to win the title. At the 2005 World Cup in Austria, the Canadian presented himself better again. Due to his 16 points scorer in nine matches, he was voted the most valuable player of the tournament. Together with the wingers Rick Nash and Simon Gagné, he led the Canadians to the final, but could not prevent the 3-0 defeat against the Czech Republic and had to be satisfied with the silver medal. Through his performances in the national jersey at the previous World Cup and the World Cup of Hockey, he was also nominated for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, where he was considered one of the team’s key players. However, he scored only one goal in six games which caused the team to fail early in the quarter-finals.
Nevertheless, in 2009, the striker was invited to the preparatory training camp for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. On December 30th, his second Olympic participation was confirmed. Likewise, his two storm colleagues Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley took part in the tournament for Canada, with whom he formed an attack line. Thornton only collected two scorer points in seven tournament games but won the gold medal at the end of the Winter Olympics.
He also represented his home country at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 and won the gold medal there with the team.