BOSTON -- When Shawn Thornton's skates ended up in the trash after his final game against the Buffalo Sabres on April 8, it wasn't a joke or stunt. He decided it was time to hang them up, but his method was to throw them away, just as he'd promised the Florida Panthers equipment manager he would.
"I was [done with them]," Thornton said via phone on Monday from the Boston Marathon. "I threw them in the trash, and I told multiple people that I was never putting them back on after I retired this year."
He was the last player in the Panthers dressing room after that last game, finishing up his media responsibilities, while his teammates and staff packed for Washington for the final game of the season. He didn't want anyone fussing with them, so into the trash they went.
But they were soon rescued by the Panthers staff. After several people contacted Thornton through social media to suggest he put the skates up for auction, that was exactly what Thornton did. The size 10 Rebook skates ended up on eBay, with bids exceeding $1,000 to benefit the Shawn Thornton Foundation. The auction lasts through Tuesday.
Thornton joked that he was surprised people wanted to pay that much for his old skates. But he said, "Let them know that it's going to a good cause. Whatever money comes in is going right back out."
Thornton's playing days are over, but he is not leaving the NHL. He will join the Panthers front office in May or June after taking some time off to re-energize and refocus.
Thornton said he's pleased his NHL career, which lasted far longer than he ever expected (705 games), are yielding a little bit more benefit.
"I'm happy it's garnered a little buzz," Thornton said. "I'm happy we'll be able to put the money to use in a good way. And I'm happy that I'm retired."