By Chris Cerullo
Joe Thornton wrapped up his 24th season in the National Hockey League when the Florida Panthers were swept out of the second round by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2022 playoffs.
Jumbo Joe has yet to make a decision on whether or not he will be returning for a 25th season.
Saturday, he was spotted in San Jose, his NHL home for 15 of those seasons, taking a class at a local gym with random gymgoers. He also took the ice with Sharks rookies before their Rookie Faceoff matchup with the Colorado Avalanche.
The class the former NHL MVP took occurred at F45 Training Willow Glen East gym in San Jose. It is a gym owned by former Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi. Thornton has been spotted there in the past as recently as September 9.
Thornton and former Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara are the last “active” players of the four major North American sports leagues who played in their respective leagues in the 1990s. Neither has been signed to a contract by an NHL team yet this summer.
Corey Masisak of The Athletic reports that Thornton has been skating with the Sharks since at least September 1. That indicates that if he does make a return for a 25th season it will likely be back in San Jose.
Joe Thornton currently negotiating his contract? pic.twitter.com/2Sscpr1tK5
— Locked on Sharks (@LockedOnSharks) September 18, 2022
The 43-year-old center took the ice with his former club’s rookie talent on Saturday. He did so wearing Toronto Maple Leafs colored pants and sporting one of the Sharks’ new teal helmets. Thornton played the 2020-21 season with the Leafs.
Hey Jumbo! 👋 pic.twitter.com/O0zzpmfTOp
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) September 17, 2022
Masisak reports that Thornton has “no official role” with the Sharks at this time.
Screenshot via @bardown/Instagram
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