San Jose Sharks: Former fan-favorite Joel Ward officially announces retirement

San Jose Sharks (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)
San Jose Sharks (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images) /

Longtime NHL player and former San Jose Sharks forward Joel Ward has officially announced his retirement. We take a look at his legendary career.

After weeks of slow news cycles, the San Jose Sharks have an important development. Longtime forward Joel Ward officially announced his retirement from the NHL in an emotional letter in the Players’ Tribune.

The article, which was entitled “726,” represented the 726 games he played at the professional level.

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The Career

Ward played a total of 11 seasons in the league, with his final three coming as a member of the Sharks. The former undrafted free agent was able to pave his way toward an exceptional career in the NHL.

While he had not suited up for a game since the 2017-2018 season, it appeared as though Ward was leaving the door open for a possible comeback. He officially closed that door with this announcement.

Ward had solid stints as a member of the Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, and Washington Capitals, before landing in the Bay Area. His tenure in San Jose began in 2015 when he signed a three-year, $9.75 million contract with the Sharks.

He immediately rewarded the franchise by producing one of his best career seasons. He accumulated 21 total goals and 22 assists (both the second-highest totals he produced in a single year).

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He was also a member of the Sharks’ Stanley Cup Finals team in 2016. However, from that point forward, Ward’s career began to hit a decline. He contributed 29 total points in the 2016-2017 season, followed by only 12 in 2017-2018.

After his contract in San Jose expired, Ward attempted to join the Montreal Canadiens. However, he was unable to make the team.

The Man

Ward was able to develop a reputation as much more than an athlete during his tenure with the Sharks. The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reacted to the retirement news by publicly tweeting about his character and kindness.

The veteran has also been given praise for his work as a father. According to a recent NBC Sports article, this was a major factor in his decision to step away from the game. He was quoted as saying “That’s, I think, what made me ready to call it a career, I just wanted to be a dad.”


Ward was never the most popular player on the roster, nor was he a superstar with a trophy case full of titles and All-Star appearances. However, he was a really solid contributor that overcame the odds and made a career for himself that lasted more than a decade.

Most importantly for the purposes of this article, he also ended that career as a member of the San Jose Sharks. He aided the franchise in making their only appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals and made an unmistakable impact on his community.

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On behalf of the Bay Area, we thank you for your contributions to the team and wish you the best in your post-NHL career!