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Marleau thanks Sharks, fans in newspaper ad

Maple Leafs forward expresses gratitude after 19 seasons in San Jose @NHLdotcom

Forward Patrick Marleau took out a full-page newspaper ad Sunday to say goodbye to the fans who supported him during his 19 seasons with the San Jose Sharks before beginning the next phase of his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The ad ran in the sports section of the San Jose Mercury News and East Bay Times.

Marleau, who played with the Sharks from 1997-98 through 2016-17, signed a three-year contract with the Maple Leafs on July 2. He went on social media after signing with Toronto and used the text of that letter for the print ad under a headline that read, "Thank You San Jose."

"Since June of 1997, San Jose has been my home, where my dreams of becoming an NHL player came true when I was drafted," he wrote.

"During the last 20 years, I have had the unprecedented fortune to continue to play for this organization, make lifetime friendships, work with the best training staff, meet my wife and start our family, and play in front of incredible, enthusiastic fans. San Jose will always be my home; where my children will grow up, and the Sharks will always hold a special place in my heart.

"I have always felt appreciated and supported by everyone here and I want to thank you all -- every one of the teammates I've had. (General manager) Doug Wilson and everyone in the Sharks organization, training staff, current and past coaching staff, (owner) Hasso (Plattner), and all of the other past and present owners of the team, fans, friends and the people in this wonderful community.

"Without every single one of you, I would not have had the career I have had so far, and I know that.

"You all have my deepest respect, admiration and gratitude."

On July 16, the Sharks bought a full-page ad in the Mercury News to thank Marleau for his contributions.

Marleau, who was chosen by the Sharks with the No. 2 pick in the 1997 NHL Draft behind top pick Joe Thornton, is the Sharks' all-time leader in games played (1,493), goals (508), points (1,082), power-play goals (160) and game-winning goals (98).

Tweet from @mercnews: Now off to Toronto, Patrick Marleau thanks San Jose, Sharks

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