November 30th, 2005.
An ordinary Wednesday at the beginning of yet another sleepy Canadian winter. It seemed like any other day for a 16-year-old. School, basketball practice, homework, and then watching the Leafs game with my dad, because the Habs were off and Toronto was the local broadcast. Neither of us were super into what was happening in Leafs vs. Lightning, but hey, it was better than whatever the alternative household chore was.
Intermission rolled around, and my dad and I began to discuss how bad San Jose was, and invariably how good Montreal was, because there is nothing in life like having your own dad taunt you about his team being better than yours. We then band together to rag on the Leafs and hope Tampa Bay can beat them because, Eff You Leafs, that’s why.
Among our banter, the CBC announcers (I am going to say Greg Millen and Jim Hughson) suddenly said, “The Boston Bruins have traded Joe Thornton...”
Both my dad and I turned our attention to the TV in the den that we had parked ourselves in. Thornton was young, elite. Some team was about to collect on a lottery ticket and we both knew it.
As soon as the CBC broadcaster finished saying “Thornton,” on cue and in-sync, my dad said, “to the Habs,” and I blurted out, “to the Sharks.” We were both hoping, but knew this was a long shot. In the back of our heads we were both praying it wasn’t to a rival like the Leafs, Ducks, or Kings.
“…to the San Jose Sharks.”
They actually said Thornton was now a Shark. Right there on national TV for millions to see.
“…to the San Jose Sharks.”
I immediately jumped up in excitement. I punched the air and in my state of ecstasy, I accidentally hit the roof and busted the light covering. I didn’t care. I pretty much blacked out at this point. I can still hear my dad saying “No f***ing way.”
He then added that it was a three-for-one deal and asked if Primeau, Sturm, or Stuart were good.
(They were not, especially when dealing them for Joe freakin’ Thornton).
My dad in the most dad manner possible said, “Well, I’m happy for you son.”
He wasn’t. Sports fandom requires a certain level of disdain for everyone else and at this particular moment, I was less his son and more a lucky punk whose team was about to be very good for a very long time. The rest of the night was spent rehashing the deal, and excitedly declaring San Jose was going to win the Stanley Cup. I 100 percent wore my Sharks jersey to school the next day.
That’s how I found out Joe Thornton was going to be in teal. It is a day that will be burned into my memory for as long as I live. 12 years later, we are nearing the end of Joe’s career and with that, the remaining link to my childhood Sharks. It will be an emotional day when he officially leaves hockey.
But we will always have November 30th, 2005.