Beloved San Jose Sharks forward, Jonathan Cheechoo, has announced his retirement from hockey today. He released a statement thanking his wife, family, friends, agent, and the Sharks organization. As per the release Jonathan said, “I have been privileged to be able to reach my goals and to play the game that I love,” and “I leave the game I love with wonderful memories, great friends, great fans and an awesome family that enjoyed the journey with me. I have been blessed!” You can check out his full statement on the Sharks website here.
Cheechoo will best be remembered for lighting the league on fire in 2005-06 when he tallied a league-high 56 goals. This was good enough to earn him the Rocket Richard Trophy and become one of only 12 players to have won the award. He also chipped in 37 assists for a career high 93 points that season.
Cheech played six seasons in Teal, amassing 165 goals, 126 assists for 291 points in 440 games. He contributed 16 goals, 19 assists for 35 points in 58 playoff games as well. The winger ranks eighth in all-time Sharks points and still sits sixth in Sharks franchise goals.
Cheechoo went on to play one season with the Ottawa Senators before departing the NHL. Jonathan played three seasons in the AHL, returning to the Sharks organization in 2010-11 with the Worcester Sharks. In 2013-14, he left North America to continue his career in the KHL where he has spent the past four years. Cheechoo last played professional hockey with Bratislava Slovan (KHL) in 2016-17.
Cheechoo was originally selected 29th overall in the second round by the Sharks in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. He played three OHL seasons with the Belleville Bulls, collecting 249 points along the way. Jonathan then made the jump to the AHL, playing for the Kentucky Thoroughblades and Cleveland Barons before graduating to the NHL.
Looking back at his career, it is not a long one, but one with a high few players achieve. From 2004-2008 Jonathan Cheechoo was an elite goal scorer and preeminent NHL sniper. The Cree First Nations kid from Moose Factory, Ontario was gifted hands of magic and he used those hands to beat the odds and carve out a long hockey career. For anyone who was there, we will always remember the excitement whenever the right winger corralled the puck in the offensive zone and turned his eye towards the net. Cheech will always have a special place in Sharks fans’ hearts.
Jonathan Cheechoo will be recognized pregame on March 24 at the SAP Center before the Sharks play the Calgary Flames. Good luck in retirement, Cheech!