While he prepares for the 2020-21 NHL season, Joe Thornton will be playing at home. His home in Switzerland that is, where he is spending the offseason with his family. Thornton will suit up for HC Davos in the Swiss NLA for the time being, even as rumors swirl about his future in North America.
Thornton has twice played for the European club in the past. In 2004-05 he spent the entire season there while the NHL was locked out, meeting his future wife and leading Davos to the league title. Thornton was awarded the NLA MVP that season and even led the Swiss club team to a Spengler Cup title, actually over Team Canada who he normally suited up for internationally. He has spoken fondly of that season in Switzerland, where he lined up with Rick Nash and Niklas Hagman to dominate the league.
Then, in 2012-13 when the league was dealing with another partial lockout, Thornton returned to Davos and once again was a dominant presence in the NLA. Nash would join him again for a time, though the club was unable to secure the league title thanks to the NHL resuming play partway through the season.
Now, with everyone talking about whether Thornton will return to the San Jose Sharks or try out a new home with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he’ll get back on the ice to prepare.