| Shark Great Signs
Nolan's retires; will he be first to get number
Although Owen Nolan hadn't played with the Sharks
in about nine years, the Sharks' organization showed a lot of class this week
by bringing Nolan back to officially announce his retirement at the confines of
There's no denying it: Nolan was a foundational player
for the Sharks, one of the most important and effective players to ever wear
teal. And he has found a home in San Jose; when clearing out his locker right
after the Sharks traded him to Toronto, he said San Jose was where he would be
when he was done playing.
He gave us some incredible moments: the
called shot and goal during the 1997 All Star Game, the center ice goal against
heavily favored Saint Louis in the 2000 playoffs, and, OK, the fight against
Grant Marshall that led to an 11-game suspension and had Sharks fans crying
foul. Now, the question we have to ask is: Should Nolan be the first Shark to
ever have his number retired? Should number 11 permanently adorn the rafters
above the ice?
I've always thought a player ought to have a
championship under his belt in order to get his number retired. But Nolan
certainly did all he could to try to make that happen, even if it never did.
(He came a few months' shy of getting a championship ring with Colorado, which
traded him to the Sharks in late-1995.) Nolan does have an Olympic gold medal,
though, which in some parts of the world is even more highly regarded than a
Stanley Cup ring.
Anyone wondering about his impact elsewhere only
needed to listen to his retirement press conference, in which a French-sounding
reporter said Nolan was the last player from the now-defunct Quebec Nordiques
to retire. So he is still remembered there after all these years. (Nolan last
played for Quebec in 1995.)
Even if Nolan, like many, many other great players,
never got to win a Stanley Cup, the magnitude of his years with the Sharks
warrants his getting his number retired. He was the Sharks' best player for
years and his combination of toughness and skill defined the term, "power
forward." His 44 goals scored in the 1999-2000 season led to a peculiar honor
at my house.
I was getting a dog that year and knew the dog would have
to be named for something to do with the Sharks. In recognition of Nolan's
tremendous season, my small, white-haired Maltese dog was thereby named "Owen."
He will be 12 years old in June.
So thanks, Owen (the player, not the
dog) for helping to put San Jose on the NHL map. We'll hope to see you around
the Tank often.
Contact Paul at at email@example.com
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