Although he was born in Northern Ireland, raised in eastern Ontario, and lived in seven different cities during his NHL career, the Bay Area has always felt like home to Nolan ever since he was traded to the Sharks in 1995.
Nolan, who officially retired from the NHL on February 7, 2012, remains one of the most iconic and memorable players in the history of the San Jose Sharks franchise. He posted 885 points (422 goals, 463 assists) during a 18 season NHL career that spanned 1,200 games with Quebec/Colorado, San Jose, Toronto, Phoenix, Calgary and Minnesota and ended his playing career ranked 71st in total goals on the NHL’s all-time list.
In eight seasons with the Sharks, Nolan posted 451 points (206 goals, 245 assists), racked up 934 penalty minutes, was named to four All-Star teams and served as Captain for five seasons.
Upon his trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 5, 2003, Nolan left the Sharks as the franchise-leader in goals, assists, points, power play goals, shorthanded goals, shots, and hat tricks, and was second all-time in penalty minutes and games played. He still holds franchise single-game records for most points (6 – Oct. 4, 1999 vs. Chicago [3-3=6]), goals (4 – Dec. 19, 1995 at Anaheim) and power play goals in a period (3 – Dec. 19, 1995 at Anaheim).
Along with being a fan-favorite as a result of his impressive on-ice accomplishments, Nolan has recently become a favorite to those less fortunate as a result of several significant contributions to the community.
“Ever since I got traded to San Jose, I knew this was going to be a place I could live for a long-time after hockey was done,” said Nolan. “Raising a family here, it’s a real easy decision for me to help out the community any way I can. I played hockey here, the fans and the city have been great to me so any way I can help give back is a bonus.”
In late October, Nolan sold his 1,157 acre ranch in Mount Hamilton to the Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department in an effort to preserve open space and genetic diversity amongst the wildlife in the area. Nolan, who purchased the land in 1995 after being traded to the Sharks and regularly spent much of his time away from the ice on the property, wanted to the land to stay undeveloped so that others will can enjoy it as much as he did over the years.
Earlier this month, Nolan joined fellow Sharks alumni and team broadcasters at a Sharks Foundation event to collect canned food and monetary donations for Second Harvest Food Bank. Held at Sharks Ice at San Jose, the attendees mingled and signed autographs for fans who donated five canned foods or made a $5 donation to Second Harvest. The event generated over 1,500 meals to be delivered to those in need.
Continuing the trend, Nolan, along with his business partners, customers and staff at Britannia Arms Almaden, donated 400 turkeys to local Bay Area charities for Thanksgiving. The restaurant has been participating in this charitable effort for the past 25 years, donating over 10,000 turkeys during that span.
Next, beginning Fri., Nov 23, the Britannia Arms Almaden will begin their annual Toy Drive to collect toys for underprivileged youth in the area. Individuals who bring in a new or gently used toy or make a monetary donation (no amount is too big or too small) will be entered into a raffle for a pair of prizes. Two winners will receive either a customized, special-edition Jameson-themed bike or dinner for two at 71 St. Peter in San Pedro Square and a one-night stay at the Hilton Hotel in San Jose. Most importantly, all participants will help to brighten a child’s life during the holiday season.
Lastly, on Sat., Nov. 24 from 4 p.m. until closing time, Britannia Arms Almaden, in conjunction with the San Jose Firefighters Burn Foundation, will hold a silent auction to raise money for children, soldiers, firefighters, and families who have been affected by fire. Numerous sports memorabilia items will be included in the auction, including a signed Owen Nolan Sharks jersey.
For more information on the firefighter’s fundraiser, please visit http://www.sjfirefightersburnfoundation.org/ or contact Joe Rondone at (408) 666-6365. For more information on the upcoming philanthropic events at Britannia Arms Almaden, please visit http://www.britanniaarmsalmaden.com/ or contact Mike North at (408) 266-0550.
“We try and do as much as we can within our community,” added Nolan. “We’re very blessed to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving every year with friends and family. Unfortunately, there are lots of people that can’t so we want to make sure we can help feed as many people as possible.”
Britannia Arms Almaden is located at 5027 Almaden Expressway in San Jose, CA.