So much emotion goes through your mind, said Marleau, whose Sharks lost to the Knights in the shootout 3-2. It’s been a long emotional roller coaster, but I’m glad I made it.
Marleau, 41, began his career with San Jose in the 1997-98 season. Marleau has played a record 23 seasons together. Howe, who like Marleau hails from Saskatchewan, Canada, played a total of more than 26 seasons before being named to the team. Hockey eventually retired at the age of 51.
It was the 899th consecutive game in which he played, the second-longest streak among active players.
Prior to the game, the Sharks presented Marleau with a special locker room video featuring highlights from his career and messages from friends and teammates over the years. After the game, the Sharks held the tackles in the locker room for a standing ovation for Marleau. He gave an emotional speech about what his teammates have meant to him over the years.
It was an emotional moment and we were honored to be a part of it, said Sharks coach Bob Boughner.
Marleau started the game on the right wing for the Sharks. The announcement that he had set the record was made during the first stoppage of play. He spun on the ice with a stick in the air. A video message from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was released congratulating Marleau on his career, which shows no signs of slowing down. Vegas fans, including some Sharks fans and Marleau’s family, gave him a standing ovation.
The Sharks celebrated with some additions to the locker room. They added a sticker with a silhouette of Marleau next to his signature, his number 12 and his 1,768 games played. The same logo was placed on the right shoulder of their t-shirts. They had jerseys with a drawing of Marlo and a caricature of the goal. Goalkeeper Martin Jones wore a new mask with Marleau’s name on the side.
Marleau received a pair of commemorative gloves during practice with the most grammatical game in NHL history : They include the 1768 NHL games and logos of the Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins, the three teams he played for.
I didn’t know what they were up to or anything, but it was very unusual, Marlo said. You haven’t missed anything.
Before the game, the Sharks’ local television station broadcast a video assist from members of the San Francisco Giants and 49ers, Oakland and Golden State Warriors athletic trainer Steve Kerr, who congratulated Marleau on his longevity and said: I’ve played about 900 games in the NBA and I can barely walk.
Congratulations! #BayAreaUnite pic.twitter.com/kfoajUuyrO
– San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) April 20, 2021
The Golden Knights are a nemesis, but even they were pleased with Marlo’s performance. After the game, the Knights greeted Marleau with a handshake and stayed on the ice with the Sharks for a salute of sticks.
No matter how much you hate your opponent, no matter how much you want to beat him, you always respect your opponent. I think everyone in our locker room respects what they do, said captain Mark Stone. The fact that he plays 82 games in a season, that he never misses a game, that he is always present, shows what a professional he is.
The Sharks will host Marleau on Saturday at SAP Center for their game against Minnesota.
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