After 726 NHL games, former Sharks wing Joel Ward is hanging up his skates. The 39-year-old made the announcement in a Players' Tribune piece published on Monday.
Ward played 209 games across three seasons with San Jose, and waxed poetic about his time in the Bay Area in the essay.
Then there’s San Jose, and everything that place has meant to me.
That isn’t one image, really. It’s more like a feeling.
I miss that group so much already. I miss how much fun it was to come to the rink every day. That’s what separates San Jose from anywhere else. The atmosphere in that locker room, it’s remarkable. Every day was a blessing there. Patty, Pavs, Jumbo, Burnzy -- those guys set the culture and everyone followed. I’m thankful to that organization for the opportunity to have played there, to have been a part of it all.
After signing with the Sharks in 2015, Ward was an instrumental part of the group that reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2016. He ranked fifth on the team with 13 points during that postseason run.
He made his last NHL appearance back on Apr. 7, 2018, scoring a point in a Sharks' loss to the Minnesota Wild.
The organization and Ward’s former teammates returned the favor and made sure to thank the veteran on social media for all of his contributions to the franchise.
Congrats on a great career, Wardo! https://t.co/bXeJj2sIWW— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) April 27, 2020
Unbelievable player and person! Still try and implement your can’t change it now advice and stop stressing! special family and a huge congrats to a great career bud! One of the best teammates you could hope for and brought everyone young/ old/ married/ single together #specialguy https://t.co/18UVyyFzx1— Brent Burns (@Burnzie88) April 27, 2020
Enjoy retirement, Joel. You earned it.