Joseph Eric Thornton is a Canadian-American professional ice hockey player who serves as the centre and alternate captain for the San Jose Sharks. Thornton was born in Ontario, Canada. As he grew up, he played minor hockey in his hometown of St Thomas, Ontario, for the St Thomas Travelers. He was selected as the first overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, after which he went on to play seven seasons with the club. Later, he was traded to the San Jose Sharks. Throughout his career, he has proved himself to be a very valuable player of the team. He first played internationally for Canada’s national under-20 team at the 1997 World Junior Championships in Switzerland. He next appeared at the 2004 World Cup and then at the 2005 IIWF Championship. He represented Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics and the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. He has won many awards, such as the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Spengler Cup, in his career. Regarding his personal life, he is married to Tabea Pfendsack. They have two children.
Childhood & Early Life
Joe Thornton was born on 2nd July 1979, in St Thomas, Ontario, Canada. He is the youngest of three boys. From an early age, he used to be interested in a variety of sports.
By the age of ten, he was already skating circles around his buddies in youth league games. He was also proficient in football. He eventually started playing hockey at the age of 14.
In 1995-96, he began his two-year stint in the Ontario Hockey League with the Greyhounds. His performance was quite impressive in his first year. He scored 76 points, which earned him both the OHL and CHL Rookie of the Year honors.
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Joe Thornton was selected as the first overall pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins. On 3rd December 1997, he scored his first goal in a 3-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers. In his 55 games as a rookie, he scored three goals and seven points.
Over the next seasons, he continued to improve his performance, and in the 2002-03 season, he was named the captain of the team, succeeding Jason Allison as he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings. In his first season as a captain, Thornton recorded 68 points in 66 games.
His performance improved in the following season. He recorded a career high of 36 goals and 65 assists. In the 2003-04 campaign, he had a fight with New York Rangers centre Eric Lindros, which resulted in a fracture in his right cheekbone. This kept him out for three games, and his productivity also declined to 73 points in 77 games.
In November 2005, he was traded to the San Jose Sharks in a four-player deal. He made a total of 92 points in 58 games with the Sharks. He finished the season with 96 assists and 125 points, earning the Art Ross Trophy as the top scorer of the league. This made him the first player to win the award while splitting the season between two teams.
He eventually signed a three-year contract extension worth $21.6 million which kept him with the San Jose Sharks. He finished the 2007-08 season with 96 points, which included 29 goals and 67 assists.
Thornton was named the captain of the Western Conference for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal in 2008-09. He completed the season with a total of 86 points.
During the 2009-10 season, the Sharks entered the 2010 playoffs. After advancing past Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings in the first two rounds, the Sharks were eliminated after a match with the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals. He finished the playoffs with a career-high 12 points in 15 games. He signed a three-year $21 million contract extension with the Sharks shortly after.
In January 2014, he again signed a three-year contract extension through to the 2017 season. His performance continued to improve over the next few years. On 6th March 2017, in a game against the Winnipeg Jets, Thornton recorded his 1000th NHF assist. It made him the 13th player in NHL history to reach the milestone.
Joe Thornton’s first international appearance came when he got named to Canada’s national under-20 team for the 1997 World Junior Championships in Switzerland. He led the Canadian team to the gold medal.
At the 2001 World Championships in Germany, he collected a goal as well as an assist in six games. Canada was, however, eliminated at the quarter finals by US.
He next appeared at the 2004 World Cup, and later at the 2005 IIHF World Championship. He was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Despite Canada’s amazing performance at the finals, they were defeated by the Czech Republic.
He appeared in the 2006 Winter Olympics. He recorded three points, but Canada lost to Russia in the quarter final. Four years later, he again played for the Canadian team in the 2010 Winter Games. Along with his teammates, he led his team to a gold medal.
Family & Personal Life
Joe Thornton is married to Tabea Pfendsack. They have two children, a daughter and a son.