Shortly after Patrick Marleau signed a three-year contract in free agency with the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this summer, the San Jose Sharks took out a full-page newspaper ad in the Mercury News thanking Marleau for all of his contributions over the past 19 seasons.
This weekend Marleau returned the favor and took out a full-page ad of his own to thank the city of San Jose and the Sharks.
The ad included a statement Marleau made on social media following his departure from the Sharks.
“Since June of 1997, San Jose has been my home, where my dreams of becoming an NHL player came true when I was drafted.
“During the last 20 years, I have had the unprecedented fortune to continue to play for this organization, make lifetime friendships, work with the best training staff, meet my wife and start our family, and play in front of incredible, enthusiastic fans. San Jose will always be my home; where my children will grow up, and the Sharks will always hold a special place in my heart.
“I have always felt appreciated and supported by everyone here and I want to thank you all — every one of the teammates I’ve had. Doug Wilson and everyone in the Sharks organization, training staff, current and past coaching staff, (owner) Hasso (Plattner), and all of the other past and present owners of the team, fans, friends and the people in this wonderful community.
“Without every single one of you, I would not have had the career I have had so far, and I know that.
“You all have my deepest respect, admiration and gratitude.”
During his time with the Sharks Marleau was not only one of the best players in franchise history, but also one of the most productive players in the NHL. In 1,493 regular season games with the team he tallied 1,082 points (508 goals, 574 assists) while his 68 playoff goals were the most in the NHL from the time he entered the league.
The Sharks were never able to win a Stanley Cup with Marleau, but they reached the Western Conference Finals four times and made the Stanley Cup Final during the 2015-16 season.
Now he moves on to Toronto where he will be joining one of the best and most exciting young teams in the league.