Untold Joe Thornton story reveals how he taught Connor McDavid a very important lesson

“I don’t think they make guys like that anymore.”


On Wednesday morning,  Joshua Kloke of The Athletic published a fantastic article on Toronto Maple Leafs new member Joe Thornton, sharing untold stories about the forward’s 22-year NHL career. Former teammates, coaches, equipment managers and friends have come together to reveal some great stories about Jumbo Joe, some that fans have never heard before. 

And one of them is simply unbelievable. While Kloke wrote and researched this piece to “better understand the man who’s about to enter the Maple Leafs locker room for the first time in search of an elusive Stanley Cup ring”.

This one lets fans in on how Thornton taught Edmonton Oilers star forward and captain Connor McDavid a valuable lesson on the ice. And you can’t help but laugh and smile about it, because that’s the type of guy Jumbo Joe is. 

It is told by Mike Aldrich, head equipment manager of San Jose Sharks since 2005: 

“In 2019, there was a collision at centre ice between Connor McDavid and Tommy Hertl. Neither one of them had the puck. Zack Kassian pushed Tommy near the glass. So Tommy gets the penalty, and a couple of shifts later, we’re back at full strength. And there just so happens to be a faceoff in the neutral zone, right in front of our bench. Kassian is lined up with his back to our bench and Jumbo is right in front of him. Jumbo is literally leaning over Kassian’s shoulder and he’s yelling “Hey, Connor.” Connor was not acknowledging him, so Jumbo keeps yelling, “Hey, Connor.” Finally, the puck’s ready to get dropped and Connor kind of looked over at him. Jumbo says to him, “When I was the best player in the world, I used to take care of that shit on my own. I didn’t need this middleweight to come in and take care of me.” And then he’s listing a couple of players that he fought when he was a kid, like Mark Tinordi. “The best player in the world” is how he referred to himself. I’m not kidding: Kassian and everybody who was on the ice and on our bench were laughing. He wasn’t being mean to Connor.”

We believe Pete DeBoer, Thornton’s former head coach with the San Jose Sharks says it best:  “I don’t think they make guys like that anymore.”

We strongly encourage you to read the whole article on these untold stories by Joshua Kloke of The Athletic and see all of the great examples of what makes Thornton “Jumbo.”