Patrick Sharp retired from the Chicago Blackhawks after the final game of the season Saturday night. Always the classy individual and ultimate team player, Sharp went out in style. His career has been a very good one. After being drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the third round in 2001, he spent most of his NHL career with the Blackhawks.
Patrick Sharp Retires
Sharp has many career highlights. He won the Calder Cup with the Flyers AHL team in 2005. Sharp won a gold medal with Team Canada in the 2014 Winter Olympics, and was an NHL All-Star in 2011. He was also a huge part of the three Stanley Cups the Blackhawks won in 2010, 2013, and 2015. Known as the “Sharpshooter”, he has scored 287 goals with 333 assists for 620 points in his 939 career games. He has also scored 49 game-winning goals during his career.
His NHL career began with the Flyers in 2003. He was then traded to the Blackhawks in 2005 in a trade that is still one of the biggest steals in Blackhawks history. Sharp scored 20 goals in his first full season in 2006-07, one of seven seasons with at least 20 goals. He was then dealt to the Dallas Stars in 2015 as part of a salary cap crunch move by general manager Stan Bowman. Sharp returned to Chicago this past off-season as an unrestricted free agent, giving the team a hometown discount contract in order to retire as a Blackhawk.
Blackhawks fans still recovering from their team not making the playoffs will miss Sharp and what he brought to their favourite team. Always a favourite of the ladies for his good looks, Sharp was a player any hockey fan could admire. He played the game right and was a great example for many of the younger players. He mentored Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews when they joined the Blackhawks. Both have had nothing but admiration and respect for what Sharp meant to them and the team during his career.
Going Out in Style
This past Friday in Chicago was Sharp’s last game in front of the Blackhawks fans. He was featured on the Jumbo-Tron during breaks showing highlights of his career. At the end of the game, he was saluted by the St. Louis Blues players as well as his own team. His teammates then forced Sharp to take the spotlight at center ice as well as a lap around the United Center for the fans. For more on this great moment check out this from Charlie Roumeliotis of Yahoo Sports:
“During the final TV timeout of the game, a video montage titled “Thank You Sharpy” aired before Sharp acknowledged a sold-out crowd of 22,218 – the largest of the season – and teared up while doing so. After the final buzzer, Sharp’s teammates forced him to skate to center ice by himself, where he saluted the fans one final time, shook the hands of a few St. Louis Blues players, Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff and skated a victory lap.”
“It was the perfect way to go out.”
That would not be the last fans salute for Sharp. Saturday night in Winnipeg he featured again on the Jumbo-Tron. After which the Winnipeg Jets fans gave him a standing ovation too. The respect paid by the Jets and their fans will be remembered in Chicago for a long time.
As he retires as a Blackhawk, Patrick Sharp will likely stay with the Blackhawks organization in some way. Smart teams do not let players with this much class just walk away. It will be interesting to see what role he takes as he starts his next career.