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Sundin will never forget what Leafs fans gave him

Nov 12, 2012, 11:00 PM EDT

Mats Sundin

Mats Sundin is a product of the sport. In 1966, his parents went to a hockey game for their first date.

“Five years later, I was born,” Sundin said, courtesy of the “Forty-six years after that date, I’m standing here being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.”

Sundin started his career playing with fellow 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Joe Sakic on the Quebec Nordiques, and he retired after spending some time with the next generation of Swedish greats in Daniel and Henrik Sedin as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. However, most will remember Mats Sundin for his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“When I landed in Toronto on Thursday afternoon I came home,” Sundin said. “Driving in from the airport reflecting on 13 years in Toronto, living in this city, players I played with. I thought of the fans, the incredible fans that bleed blue and white.”

Maple Leafs fans are not know for their exclusively kind treatment of hockey players and Sundin did not entirely avoid controversy during his tenure in Toronto, especially towards the end of his career. Still, as TSN’s James Duthie pointed out, Sundin managed to win the admiration of a generation of Leafs fans.

“Leaf fans, I will never forget what you have given me,” Sundin said.


Mats Sundin’s impact on Maple Leafs records

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 12, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    I wasn’t happy with Sundin vetoing a trade and then going to Vancouver for nothing (in return to the Leafs) but that doesn’t come close to outweighing everything he did for the Leafs, all the times he carried them on his back. I’ll never forget his goal against Carolina.

    He’s a true Leafs legend. Congrats, Mats.

  2. hooockey - Nov 13, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Nice of Mats to forgive Leaf fans for treating him badly in his last year. They were upset he refused to be traded.

    The Avalanche would NEVER have tried to trade Sakic, the Sens Alfredsson, Red Wings Lidstrom, etc.

    MLSE were jerks for putting pressure on Mats to accept a trade, and got the media to play along with this. Then some turncoat Leaf fans got upset with Mats for this.

    Very classy of him to forgive this shabby treatment from a classless organization and fanbase.

    • shezbot - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      Classless organization…yes.
      Classless fan base…not even remotely.

      • mrchainbluelightning - Nov 13, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        Leaf fans are not classless

        Just stupid for buying into anything put under there nose and then defending failure for 2-3 seasons too long.

        Oh and to keep paying higher and higher prices for a garbage product and front office.

      • shezbot - Nov 14, 2012 at 2:34 PM

        You can blame the corporate support and Bay Street people for that. As long as they deem it fashionable the tickets are mostly out of reach for the regular folks. Over 80% of the Leafs tickets are sold on a corporate level. The remaining 20% can stay at home (and some do) but the tickets just get scooped up anyways.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 13, 2012 at 12:12 PM

      He obviously wanted to go somewhere to have a shot at the Cup or he wouldn’t have gone to Vancouver. If he had retired a Leaf nobody would’ve said anything about him rejecting that trade. But he left and we got nothing, which didn’t immediately sit well with us Leafs fans.

  3. skinsfan56 - Nov 13, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    There has never been a more classy player with the leafs than Sundin. With a rabid fan base that wanted a winner so bad, Sundin’s leadership and ability were taken for granted for his entire tenure in Toronto, they didn’t deserve him. Good luck Mats, not sure I would have forgiven that fan base for the way things ended though.

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