Ex-Sharks fan favorite Tommy Wingels retires after 10 pro seasons


Ex-Sharks fan favorite Tommy Wingels retires after 10 pro seasons

Tommy Wingels called it a career Thursday, as the former Sharks forward announced his retirement from hockey after 10 professional seasons.

Wingels played 337 of his 448 NHL games for San Jose, and the Evanston, Ill. native spent the last two seasons playing for Genève-Servette HC in Switzerland. The 32-year-old said in a statement that he is "now ready and eager to return to my hometown to start a new chapter in my life."

Only two other Sharks' sixth-round picks (Ryane Clowe and Alex Korolyuk) have scored more goals for San Jose than Wingels' 51, and only Clowe played more games. But Wingels should be remembered more for what he did off the ice during his career.

Wingels has served on the advisory board of the You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to ensuring sports create an inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ athletes, since its inception in 2012. The organization was founded in memory of Brendan Burke, the student-manager of Miami University's hockey team when Wingels played there. Burke, the son of hard-nosed former NHL general manager Brian Burke, died in a February 2010 car accident fewer than three months after he came out as gay to Wingels and his teammates.

“We’re trying to eliminate the casual homophobia in the game and in the locker room," Wingels told David Pollak and Mark Emmons, then with Bay Area News Group, in 2012. " … It’s not just hockey we’re talking about. It’s sports in general. We want people to be judged on their talent. Nothing else should really matter.”

The You Can Play Project has partnered with the NHL and the NHL Players Association since 2013. Wingels was the Sharks' nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 2012 and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2013 for his involvement with the You Can Play Project.

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The Sharks initially drafted Wingels in the sixth round (No. 177 overall), and he made his NHL debut just shy of two years later. Wingels became a regular in the Sharks' lineup during the lockout-shortened 2013 season, and he scored at least 15 goals in back-to-back seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15. He scored just nine during an injury-shortened 2015-16 campaign, but Wingels played in all but two of San Jose's 24 playoff games as the Sharks made the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.

Wingels' average ice time with San Jose the following season (10:03) was his lowest since becoming an NHL regular, and the Sharks traded him to the Ottawa Senators in 2017. He didn't return to the Senators after becoming a free-agent, signing a one-year deal with his hometown Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks traded him to the Boston Bruins ahead of the 2018 trade deadline, and Wingels played 22 regular-season and playoff games for the Bruins before spending the last two seasons in Switzerland.

How NHL's potential new labor deal could affect Sharks’ offseason plan

How NHL's potential new labor deal could affect Sharks’ offseason plan

The Sharks could be operating under a new NHL collective bargaining agreement soon, and it might have quite an impact on the franchise's future.

The NHL and the NHL Players Association are nearing an agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding for a new six-year labor deal that includes guidelines for the return of the 2019-20 season, TSN's Frank Seravalli reported Saturday.

The MOU must be ratified by both sides before it becomes official, but the potential deal includes some notes that surely will affect the Sharks this offseason.

For starters, it appears the league's salary cap will be frozen at $81.5 million, and remain there until the NHL's hockey-related revenue gets back to $4.8 billion, which was the initial projection for this season before the coronavirus pandemic forced a suspension of operations on March 12.

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San Jose ended the season with around $648,000 (per in available space, and with contracts expiring for players such as Joe Thornton, Melker Karlsson and Aaron Dell, a frozen salary cap could make re-signing those the team wants to bring back difficult.

Seravalli also noted that minimum contracts will rise $50,000 for next season, increasing to $750,000. It will stay there for four years, before rising to $775,000 in 2024-25, and $800,000 in 2025-26. So, young Sharks players such as Dylan Gambrell and Stefan Noesen, who played on minimum contracts, now are in line for raises of at least $50,000 going into next season.

The Sharks will look to turn things around entering the first full season of this potential new CBA, as they just finished last in the Pacific Division with just 63 points. But it appears the new labor deal might complicate San Jose's plan in some aspects.

Sharks' Tomas Hertl, wife Aneta expecting first child due in November

Sharks' Tomas Hertl, wife Aneta expecting first child due in November

I think we’re all due for some good news. So is Sharks’ All-Star center Tomas Hertl and his wife Aneta.

Aneta announced on her Instagram account the two are expecting a baby in November.

The first photo is the two of them posing together with the sonogram picture. The second is of a baby onesie with “Born in 2020” embroidered on it.

This is fresh off the couple's one-year wedding anniversary which, rumor has it, the big day was quite a fun time.

Back in May, Hertl spoke to the media about his rehab after tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee where he vowed he would be better than he was before. But he’ll have to wait.

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The Sharks will not be participating in the NHL’s a modified 24-team return-to-play format.

That’s OK though, he has something even better to look forward to … a baby Shark.