Will Sharks legend Marleau get Hall call? Here’s how process works

SAN JOSE – Former San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau has been inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame within the last year.

Now, the big one awaits.

Marleau, who played more NHL games than anyone in history, will find out Tuesday whether he’s been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

The 18 Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee members, a mixture of executives, media, and former players and coaches, have considered or will consider potential inductees under a rigid selection process.

Committee members can nominate no more than one individual in the Player Category, the Builder Category, and the Referee or Linesman Category. Nominees needed to be submitted by April 15.

From that pool of nominees, the committee can select a maximum of four male players, two female players, two builders, or one builder and one referee or linesman. All nominated candidates needed to receive at least 14 votes (75%) to be elected.

The newly elected members will be announced on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. (PT) on the NHL Network.

Marleau would be the first player who spent most of his career with the Sharks to be elected to the Hall. Former Sharks who have already been inducted are Ed Belfour, Rob Blake, Igor Larionov, Sergei Makarov, Teemu Selanne, Mike Vernon, and Doug Wilson.

There is no way of knowing whether Marleau has been nominated, but he undoubtedly enjoyed a career worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.

The 44-year-old Marleau, who last played in 2021 and retired the following year, played 1,779 games over a 23-year NHL career that began in 1997. That includes 21 seasons with the Sharks, two with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and a brief stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins at the end of the pandemic-affected 2019-2020 season.

Marleau passed Gordie Howe for the most games played record during the 2020-2021 season. He also ranks 24th all-time in regular season goals, scoring 566, and is 53rd with 1,197 points.

Every retired player who scored more NHL regular-season goals than Marleau is already in the Hall, and all but three players who have more points than Marleau – Jeremy Roenick (1,216), Bernie Nicholls (1,209), and Vincent Damphousse (1,205) – have also been inducted. Roenick, Nicholls, and Damphousse are former Sharks.

Joe Thornton, who spent 15 seasons with the Sharks, had 1,539 points in his 24-year NHL career but is not eligible for election until next year.

Marleau did not win the Stanley Cup or a major individual award as a player but did capture two Olympic gold medals with Canada in 2010 and 2014.

“It’s not for me to say who’s a Hall of Famer and who isn’t,” said Darryl Sutter, Marleau’s coach with the Sharks from 1997 to 2002, three years ago as Marleau was on the verge of breaking Howe’s record.

“I’m a little biased because there are guys in there that I played against and I know Patty was a lot better player than them, so, based on that, he should be in there.”

Other players worth consideration include forwards Pavel Datsyuk, Alex Mogilny, Ilya Kovalchuk, Keith Tkachuk, defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Shea Weber, and goalie Curtis Joseph.

Marleau played with the Sharks from 1997 to 2017 and again from 2019 to 2021, setting franchise records for games played (1,607), goals (522), and points (1,111). The Sharks retired his number 12 last year, and he is part of the team’s front office as a player development coach and hockey operations advisor.

Marleau was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame in December 2023 and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in May 2023.

Speaking last September as an event for the latest San Jose Sports Hall of Fame members, Marleau said he’d be blown away if immortalized by the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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“That’d be pretty amazing, obviously, to be with all those great players,” Marleau said. “To have your name in there for the rest of history, it’s humbling. If that were to happen, I’d be extremely excited, and I don’t know what I would do, but that’d be pretty crazy.”

Sharks radio play-by-play voice Dan Rusanowsky was enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame last year as the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, hockey broadcasting’s highest honor.

Wilson, the former Sharks captain and general manager, was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame as a player in 2020, 24 years after becoming eligible, and was officially inducted in November 2021.

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