Just in time for the NHL post-season, the Nelson Sports Museum has a new addition.
Though Vancouver Canucks fans will not be thrilled with the timing, the San Jose Sharks have donated a jersey that is signed by three of the players who took part in the 1996 U18 Pacific Cup that was hosted by Nelson.
Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton were key components of Team Canada that won a gold medal in the 1996 tournament before a packed house at the Civic Centre. Canada’s opponent in that final game was Team USA which included Scott Gomez. All three players now suit up for the Sharks.
Nelson Sports Museum’s curator Bill McDonnell secured the autographed jersey through a connection from his playing days in Ottawa. When McDonnell played junior hockey, current San Jose Sharks assistant general manager Wayne Thomas was the his back-up between the pipes. Thomas went onto the NCAA and then a career in the NHL.
Though Canucks fans will hold no love for the Sharks when the post season opens Wednesday, the Nelson connection to San Jose is strong. Last summer the Nelson Sports Museum had a summer student employed, former Nelson Minor Hockey defenceman, Boston College standout and San Jose Sharks draft pick Isaac MacLeod.
Thornton led the Sharks in scoring during the regular season with 40 points. Marleau was third on the team with 31 points and Gomez registered 15 points.
The Nelson Sports Museum is located throughout the Civic Centre and Nelson and District Community Complex. McDonnell began the collection in the NDCC in conjunction with the 2007 Hockey Day In Canada event and has adding to it over the years. It includes memorabilia and information about all sports related history in the community.