As a lifetime Anaheim Ducks fan, the San Jose Sharks have always been a rival that I disliked very strongly, but never hated.
As a division rival, we see them constantly each season. I have seen many a face pass through a Sharks sweater, and seen many of them hang them up. But one I am still happy to see back in the teal, is Patrick Marleau.
Marleau has always been a class act player, one that is well respected by fans of the game. He seemed like the type of player to come in and do his job with no problems or issues and has taken everything his career has thrown at him with grace. Playoff heartbreak, losing a captaincy, being traded, you name it. Patrick Marleau has seen it. Except one thing, lengthy injury. Marleau has only missed 32 games out of a possible 1801.
Which brings us to this past Monday. On Monday, 4-19-21, Patrick Marleau stepped foot on the ice for his 1,768th game, which was enough to pass Gordie Howe for the record for Most Games Played All-Time. An incredible record that any fan of the great game of hockey can respect.
Patrick Marleau was drafted by the San Jose Sharks with the second overall pick in the 1997 draft.
Little did young Patrick Marleau know that when he took the “1-2-3” picture with Joe Thornton and Oli Jokinen, he would be standing next to his future teammate, Joe Thornton, who was selected by the Boston Bruins first overall. Marleau debuted well for the Sharks and eventually became their captain midway through the 02-03 season.
Though he lost it in 2009, he continued to give his best on and off the ice, proving how standup of a guy he was, and always doing what the team needed. Some players in that situation wouldn’t have held it together like Marleau, which is why he was given an alternate captain again in the same year. Marleau remained with the Sharks until 2017.
When he entered free agency for the first time in his career he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs and then was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes, who later bought him out. San Jose was quick to re-sign “Mr. San Jose Shark” but would deal him to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2020 for hopes of seeing him win a cup, unfortunately that did not come true. Marleau returned once again back to the Sharks the next season.
But why am I bringing up the constant moves? Because 1997-2021. Marleau has played 23 seasons in the NHL chasing down a dream of winning a Stanley Cup.
While he hasn’t accomplished that yet, the 41-year old Saskatchewan native has set a record will likely never be broken, even if he decides to hang them up this season. Watching that game was a surreal thing, knowing I was watching history, if you watched it you felt it. I’m currently writing this on Wednesday evening. Which will be officially Marleau’s 1,769th game.
We don’t know what the future will hold for Patrick Marleau, but, with a jersey on the way to the Hockey Hall of Fame and numerous franchise records. Marleau has respect of not only his peers he takes the ice with and against, but the fans, even of other teams. Congrats on an inhuman record. As I take a play out of the playbook of Teemu Selanne, I say, “one more year.” Keep playing till the wheels fall off. Keep this record going. Keep being a hockey player.
Congrats to you, Patrick Marleau, on being a class act, and owning one of the greatest records of all time.
Stick taps all around.