Born July 23, 1977 (age 34) in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Left wing for the Boston Bruins
Shawn Thornton has said he would describe himself as complex, so let’s learn more about this complex guy. He grew up in Oshawa, where he played with the Oshawa Minor Generals before being selected by the Peterborough Petes in the OHL draft. But when it came time to go pro, he was selected by Toronto in 1997. (So hey, he just faced his original team in that 7-0 win!) He spent four seasons with the St. John’s Maple Leafs, averaging more than 300 penalty minutes each season while there. After being traded to Chicago in September 2001, he continued bouncing between the big show and the AHL, appearing mostly in lower-level games and continuing to rake in the penalty minutes. In 2006 he went to Anaheim as a free agent and was on board that year as they chased and won the Stanley Cup. Right after that, though, he was a free agent once more and signed with Boston this time.
With Boston, he has never once visited the ice of the Providence Bruins. He has really flourished as an enforcer, taking on the likes of Donald Brashear, Riley Cote and Georges Laraque. He also had a little feature for a while on Youtube called Thorts Vlog. At first it looked like it was recorded with a cell phone camera or something and Bruins journalist John Bishop was often mentioned as being on the other side of it. Later it morphed into a full-blown professional-camera operation, but having watched all of them recently, I like the rawer early ones better. Here’s one where he ribs Patrice Bergeron for being on the cover of The Improper Bostonian and Marc Savard has a cameo. In each of his seasons as a Bruin, he has played a majority of games, turning in a reasonable amount of points for an enforcer but excelling in getting those penalty minutes. He even made history when he and Daniel Carcillo fought during the Winter Classic held at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day last year.
2010-11 was his best year to date offensively: 79 regular-season games, 10 goals, 10 assists, 122 penalty minutes; 18 playoff games, no goals, 1 assist, 24 penalty minutes. This year also saw his 300th NHL game and 500th penalty minute. He renewed his commitment to sticking around Boston (where he lives year-round in Charlestown, which is a very lovely part of town, and keeps his strength up by boxing at area gyms) by getting his green card over the summer and has said before that he’d like to retire with the Bruins. He’s been useful recently: in his last five games, he’s gotten four fighting majors and the Bruins are 2-2-0 in those games. (He didn’t fight in that 7-0 blowout against his drafting team, though.)