Joe Thorton consulted Joe Montana about leaving the Bay Area

Considering a move to the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent, San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton sought advice as much as possible.

He spoke with family and friends. He spoke with José Pavlewski and former San Jose teammate Patrick Marleau, who left the team through free agency. But Thornton said he received the most memorable guidance from another Bay Area sports legend.

Thornton signed a one-year deal with the Leafs on Friday.

In 1993, Montana requested a trade from the 49ers, sending the 37-year-old quarterback to Kansas City, where he finished his career with the majors.

Thornton said, “I had many people I talked to last week. I’m just blessed that I got a chance to talk to some great people. He was a person who gave me some good advice.”

Thornton, 41, is preparing for the upcoming NHL season with HC Davos in the Swiss National League. His contract with the Leafs is for $ 700,000.

The decision to join Toronto ended Thornton’s 15-season run with the Sharks. In 1,636 games with San Jose and the Boston Bruins, he scored 1,509 points – among the most active players. He is 14th in career points and seventh in career assist (1,089). He won the NHL scoring title and MVP honors in 2005–06.

San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said, “The feelings I feel are appreciation and reflection. It’s hard to say in words what the franchise was to this franchise over 15 seasons.” “I think there are very few players in pro sports who can change a franchise the way they did.”

Thornton praised the organization and fans in San Jose.

“They loved me and I loved them back,” he said. “Shark Tank was one of the best buildings to play, and we had a lot of memories there.”

But while he and Wilson were unable to find a landing spot for a contender at the most recent trade deadline for Thornton, the veteran center found one through free agency.

“It was probably the toughest hockey decision I had to make. But with the roster [the Maple Leafs] Thornton said, friends, that they raised this dynasty, they are now ready to win and I am ready to win.


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