The 2005-2006 Maurice Richard Trophy winner, Jonathan Cheechoo, has elected to call it a career. The right-winger’s decision comes after investing seven years in the NHL and his last four years in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League.
Via FanRag Sports’ Matthew Schmidt, Cheechoo achieved All-Star level success during his career in the KHL.
As a matter of fact, via Gavin Lee of Yardbarker, Cheechoo was an All-Star three times while overseas. Throughout those four years, he strung together 164 points over 217 appearances. Despite his decent stats over that time frame, he has not been playing during the 2017-2018 season.
Cheechoo spent the first six years of his NHL career with the Sharks. Following his stint with San Jose, he played one season with the Ottawa Senators.
The Sportsnet.ca staff recollects that “Cheech” was traded to Ottawa in September 2009. His brief stay with Ottawa marked the last time he ever skated on NHL ice. In 2009-2010, he participated in 61 contests.
Many consider his 2005-2006 campaign to be the absolute best of his professional career. According to ESPN, during his Maurice Richard Trophy winning season, Cheechoo was tops in the league with 56 goals. That mark remains a Sharks’ single-season record.
The 37-year-old disclosed the news through the Sharks’ organization on Tuesday. In a public statement, Cheechoo expressed a plethora of gratitude. Among those he thanked were the very team that gave him his lucky break to go along with those he shared the ice with.
“First of all, I would like to thank the San Jose Sharks organization for drafting me and giving me the opportunity of playing in the National Hockey League. We had many awesome years of incredible hockey! I want to thank all of my former teammates. It was an awesome experience to play alongside all of you. You made the game enjoyable and helped me to become a better player and person.”
In addition to extending appreciation to his agent and the array of fans that backed him, he also thanked his family.
“A big thanks to my Mom and Dad, brother, Jordan, and sister, Kari. I definitely would not have made it without your unwavering support. Last but not least, I want to thank my wife, Ashley, and my son, Jack, who were my biggest fans. Thank you for enthusiastically joining me on this fantastic hockey journey that often took me away from you guys.”
Cheechoo’s retirement from the game that he loves comes after what was not always an easy life. In the Sharks’ press release, it details that his roots are in Moose Factory, Ontario. Moose Factory just so happens to over 500 miles north of Toronto. As a member of the Cree First Nations, Cheechoo “overcame tremendous odds” in order to live out his wildest dreams.
Yardbarker exhibits that the former right-winger will be honored by the Sharks prior to their game on March 24.
Upon the conclusion of his NHL career, Cheechoo played in 501 total games. In that stretch, the Canadian corralled 305 points (170 goals, 135 assists), according to the Sharks’ press release.
Perhaps to no surprise, most of his professional success occurred in Northern California. His 291 total points with them make him No. 8 on their all-time list, while he sits at No. 6 in terms of goals. Via what ESPN sets forth, his nine hat tricks are still the most in Sharks’ history.
Sharks general manager Doug Wilson took some time today to reflect on Cheechoo’s rock solid career. In the team’s news release, Wilson had the following to say about the venerated “Cheech.”
“With the tremendous support of his immediate family and his extended Cree First Nations family, Jonathan completed a remarkable journey from one of North America’s remote locations to an elite National Hockey League player,” said Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson.
“His hard work and persistence made him one of the most beloved players in Sharks history. Off the ice, you would be hard-pressed to find a more humble and respectful individual. We congratulate him and his family on a fantastic hockey career.”