Two years ago, I wrote an article on how there were just 10 athletes remaining in the major four North American sport organizations (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL). 

On the heels of Adrian Beltre’s retirement, Bartolo Colon was the only representative left in baseball. Basketball featured longtime stars Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter. Football only offered kickers, in Adam Vinatieri and Phil Dawson. Hockey was the most prominent, with five members still active; Matt Cullen, Zdeno Chara, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Roberto Luongo.

Since that post, seven of these athletes have retired. The only remaining three are in the NHL, with Zdeno Chara, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Thornton all returning. Marleau is on the cusp of potentially breaking Gordie Howe’s record in NHL games played, and all three have certainly paid their dues to the league.

For Marleau, a huge chunk of his long career was spent with Joe Thornton by his side. With the announcement that longtime San Jose Shark Jumbo Thornton would be leaving to join the Toronto Maple Leafs, it brought a heartfelt message from Marleau (through his wife’s Twitter account).

“More than two decades” is a long time to be friends, let alone competing at the highest level of hockey for a large portion of it. The two are legends in San Jose, and we’re sure Marleau’s connection to Toronto may even help to ease the transition for Jumbo… he just needs to be prepared for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner to crash his family Christmas photo.

(H/T Christina Marleau)