No player for the San Jose Sharks will ever wear No. 12 again. The team will retire Patrick Marleau’s number this season, raising his sweater to the rafters of SAP Center on February 25, 2023. He will become the first player in franchise history to receive that honor. Sharks’ president Jonathan Becher released the following statement:
It is only fitting that the first San Jose Sharks player to receive the ultimate franchise recognition of having his number retired is Mr. San Jose Shark himself, Patrick Marleau. Patty symbolizes the Sharks franchise as much as our famous jersey crest and the color teal. We look forward to celebrating his amazing NHL legacy with Patrick’s family, friends and his legions of fans, many of whom were in the arena when Patrick first stepped on the ice in San Jose in 1997.
Marleau, 42, announced his retirement in May after playing 1,779 regular season games in the NHL, the most in league history. More than 1,600 of those came in a Sharks uniform, starting in 1997 just a few days after his 18th birthday, and finishing in 2021 just a few months shy of his 42nd. During that career, he scored 566 goals and 1,197 points, received votes for the Hart Trophy, Lady Byng and Selke on many occasions, and was a franchise icon of the Sharks’ organization.
Interestingly enough, when he hit the ice for his first game as a Shark, it wasn’t wearing No. 12. That number belonged to Ron Sutter at the time, meaning Marleau would be wearing 14 for his first few years in the league.
Despite not winning any individual awards or the Stanley Cup, Marleau’s longevity, games-played record, and two Olympic gold medals will likely get him into the Hall of Fame one day. The absolute pinnacle of durability and consistency, he missed just a handful of games over his entire career while scoring at least 19 goals in 17 different seasons.