SAN JOSE (KRON) — As the San Jose Sharks gear up for Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs, Captain Joe Pavelski continues to lead the team to victory, despite an injury early on.
Pavelski began his professional career with the Sharks in 2006, earning a goal in his first game, making him the 11th player to achieve such feat. His success has went far beyond what fans saw in his first season.
With the team on the brink of championship victory, here’s a look back on his career, rise to success and future in the NHL.
As a seventh-round draft pick for the Sharks in 2003, Pavelski had early success in hockey. He played for the Waterloo Black Hawks and led the semiprofessional team to win the Clark Cup in 2004. He was also named U.S. Hockey League Rookie of the Year — all at the age of 18. But prior to all this, Pavelski was born in the small town of Plover, Wisconsin, a city of about 12,000 people. In 2014, the city even placed a sign honoring its hometown hockey star that read, “”Welcome to Plover, home of Joe Pavelski,” according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. The sign was all part of “Joe Pavelski Day”, which also included a ceremony at the elementary school he attended. Pavelski told the newspaper the recognition was humbling, saying, “It’s pretty cool to have your hometown backing you like that.”
Pavelski went on to play college hockey, leading the University of Wisconsin to an NCAA championship. In Novemember 2006, the player made his professional debut for the Sharks, which also included his first playoff appearance.
As for his personal life, Pavelski is 34-years-old and has three siblings. He got married in 2008 and him and his wife Sarah have one child.
Pavelski scored 38 goals this season, leading the Sharks in goals. He’s also scored three goals and three assists in eight playoff games so far this year.
In the regular season, the Sharks captain earned 26 assists in 75 games, as well as 38 goals, with a shooting percentage of 20.2. The 2018-2019 season is Pavelski’s second career best in terms of goals, compared to the 2013-2014 season when he scored 41 goals.
Pavelski suffered a concussion on April 23 against the Las Vegas Golden Knights after crashing head first on the ice. This made him unable to travel with the team for some of the games against the Colorado Avalanche. Fortunately he was cleared to play in this week’s decisive Game 7 with the conference final spot on the line.
With free agency on the horizon, Game 7 this week had potential to be Pavelski’s final game in San Jose. The Sharks captain is currently under a $30 million, five year contract that he signed with the Sharks in July 2013.
The Sharks take on the St. Louis Blues Saturday at 5 p.m.