Although he is now playing for the Florida Panthers, Joe Thornton will always be remembered as a San Jose Sharks legend. On Tuesday night, playing in his old stomping grounds at SAP Center in San Jose, Thornton received a heartwarming tribute from the Sharks, who played an emotional video as a tribute before the puck was dropped.

Thornton was very receptive to the respect shown to him by San Jose, the team that he played for the majority of his still-going 24-year NHL career.

Via Curtis Pashelka of East Bay Times:

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“It was great. I love the people of the Bay Area. It’s just nice to be back,” Thornton told ESPN at the first intermission. “We had such great nights here, such great battles. This fan base was unbelievable. We won some big games, we lost some big games, but this crowd was awesome throughout the whole thing.”

Thornton wore Sharks threads from the 2005-06 season to the 2019-20 campaign, during which he accumulated plenty of accolades, 251 goals, and 804 assists. In 2020, he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for a one-year deal, hoping that it would finally win that elusive Stanley Cup title. With that not working out, Thornton would sign a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers, who are in a great position to win the Cup.

Will this be the year for Thornton? That remains to be seen, but if he does achieve his dream of lifting the Stanley Cup, expect Sharks fans to get goosebumps.