When he officially retired one week ago, it had been 751 days since Joel Ward’s last NHL game.
Which puts Ward in that rare category of former athletes, who just kind of… forgot to self-announce their end.
“I was just so busy focusing on my little guy here,” Ward said via FaceTime. “That, I kind of got sidetracked.”
Ward was referring to his 1-year old son Robinson, who was one of the several key elements that helped with the mental conclusion of his hockey career.
“If I ran into you, I’d pretty much tell you I was done,” Ward said. “But for a lot people that didn’t know, they were still up in the air. It was good for me Monday to tell my story, and put it to rest.”
Ward penned one beauty of a goodbye note in The Players’ Tribune to make it official.
He shared memorable pieces of an uphill hockey journey, including the passing of his father, the dedication of his mother and the storybook path of playing 726 NHL games, despite never even being drafted.
“What a ride it was for me,” Ward reminisced. “Back then, If I could play just one game that would be great.”
Ward’s first NHL game came with the Minnesota Wild, but he was more prominently known for his time with the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals. However, it’s no coincidence he has made San Jose his permanent home.
“We have a lot of roots here, my little guy was born here,” Ward said. “Right at El Camino hospital up the street. A lot kind of hit home and seemed like a good fit at the time. We’ve made the transition of sticking out here.”
Now that the Ward family is settled, Joel has his eventual sights on a hockey coaching career.
“I don’t really have anything set in stone,” Ward explained. “It’s just something I’d kind of like to pursue.”
[RELATED: Newly-retired Ward hopes to return to Sharks as a coach]
After 11 NHL seasons, Ward has a resume of experience that should go over well in a dressing room.
“I’ve been in bottom end of the lineups to playing a couple times on the top end,” Ward said. "Just feeling like I could relate to a lot of guys.
“It would be insane for me not to share.”
Just over a year after losing their daughter during pregnancy, Sharks forward Evander Kane and his wife, Anna, welcomed another daughter into the world.
The Kanes announced the birth of their daughter, Kensington Ava, on Thursday on social media. Evander Kane said his daughter was born on July 3.
"My wife Anna is a rockstar, the strength and love she has displayed over the last 18 months," Kane wrote on Twitter. "We want to thank everyone who has reached out during this period in support of our family and (we) appreciate the kind words throughout this journey. I'm so proud of my daughter, it's tough to put into words how much she means to me."
Kane thanked the Sharks, their fans, his friends and family "for their overwhelming love" during a difficult time. Last March, Kane announced that their daughter, Eva, passed away 26 weeks into Anna's pregnancy.
"You gave us all, especially your mom and I, something to be excited about," Kane wrote of Eva on Twitter on March 14, 2019. "And though we are devastated that you couldn't stay with us longer, your mom and I will always cherish the time we had with your beautiful soul. Your spirit will give us strength, your love will give us comfort. We will love you forever."
The Sharks, San Jose teammate Mario Ferraro and Hockey Diversity Alliance co-founder Akim Aliu all commented on Kane's Instagram post on Thursday.
Tomas Hertl has a huge year ahead of him. As he returns from ACL and MCL surgery, he and his wife Aneta are expecting the birth of their first child in November.
Sharks fans everywhere can't wait for No. 48 to get back on the ice. But how did he pick that number? It’s quite simple.
“They give it to me,” he wrote in a recent NHLPA questionnaire.
But before Hertl was the Sharks’ All-Star center, he had other aspirations.
Believe it or not, he wrote in the questionnaire that he wanted to be an architect if he wasn’t going to be a hockey player. But he was born to play hockey.
His dad, Jaroslav, during the winter in his native in Prague, would create nets (measuring the perfect size) on the frozen ponds near where he lived. Hertl’s dad would even kick off skaters if they were recreationally using the area where he wanted to play hockey.
[RELATED: Sharks avoid nightmare scenario in 2020 NHL Draft lottery]
As much as Hertl could have thrived as an architect, his career as a hockey star was destined.