Joe Thornton was influenced by Joe Montana

Joe Thornton accepted a minimum wage contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs with an idea in mind.

The 41-year-old veteran wants to take top honors before he retires.

“I need to win the Stanley Cup,” he told Toronto media on Sunday during a video conference.

Thornton believes the Maple Leafs are ready to win “now”, and that is essentially what motivated his decision, even though the family side weighed in the balance for the London, Ont. Native.

Still, the big center player made a heartbreaking choice by opting for the formation of the Queen City, he who played the last 15 seasons with the San Jose Sharks.

“It’s probably the toughest hockey decision I’ve had to make,” said Thornton, who played in a final with the Sharks.

Thornton said he had a conversation with legendary quarterback Joe Montana. Winner of four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, Montana had ended his NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Maple Leafs had their fill of veterans this offseason. In addition to Thornton, they’ve hired Wayne Simmonds, Zach Bogosian and TJ Brodie, all in their 30s, in addition to granting an extension of contract to veteran Jason Spezza.

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