Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Sharp played in his final home game Friday and is expected to play his final game of his career Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg, ending a lengthy career since 2005 and including 10 years as a integral piece to the Blackhawks, which led to three Stanley Cup championships.
“I think I’ve known what I wanted to do for a long period of time here and it’s never easy, you know?” an emotional Sharp said in the Blackhawks’ dressing room following the loss via Chris Kuk of The Athletic. “But I think I’m just ready to take that next step in my life, and I’m looking forward to it.”
In two stints with Chicago, the 36-year-old Sharp has tallied 249 goals and helped the Blackhawks to Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015. After winning the title in 2015, Sharp was then traded to the Dallas Stars where he 28 goals over two seasons. He signed a one-year, $800K contract to return to Chicago. With his skills on decline, the winger played the lowest average minutes of his career since his rookie season, averaging 12:50, scoring 10 goals and 21 points in 69 games.
While Sharp didn’t announce his retirement beforehand, it was quite obvious to anyone who watched Friday’s game against the St. Louis Blues, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times. Sharp played the most minutes of the season, playing 19:03. His parents were in attendance and the veteran started on the team’s top line. He wore his old “A” on his sweater and the team gave him a video tribute during the third period. At the end of the game, Sharp skated to center ice under the spotlight teammates stayed on the bench and tapped their sticks.
On a whole, including two seasons playing for the Philadelphia Flyers who drafted him in the third round back in 2001, Sharp finished his career with 287 goals, 333 assists and 620 points in 939 games. He also was part of Team Canada’s gold medal Olympic team in 2014 in Sochi, Russia.