A goodbye letter to Mats - Macleans.ca

A goodbye letter to Mats


Dear Mats Johan Sundin,

You must be pretty torn up right now about your decision to leave our Leaf Nation family and begin a new relationship with the mountains of British Columbia. I’ll be the first to admit that things fell apart between us in the end: three seasons without a whiff of post-season play, constant family issues that saw several members exiled and publicly scolded, and of course that fruitless pursuit of trying to find someone half decent to play on your wing. The writing was on the wall when you left last spring, then confirmed soon after when you put your house up for sale, again, and disappeared to your fishing boat in Sweden.

Yet I can’t help but feel that you were somewhat dishonest with us, that in some dark corner of your soul during last year’s trade deadline–when you refused to date another to help us through a tough, self-imposed jam in order to provide our family with some draft picks and prospects that we’d squander anyway–you were just playing with our emotions. What I really mean, oh God I’m trembling as I write this, is that I think you lied to us and took advantage of Cliff’s generosity, all the while knowing that you had no interest in returning. You always said that your heart was here, that you loved us and were a Maple Leaf through and through. Apparently that was just a crafty little guise that you brewed up to keep us happy. And to rub it in, last weekend I had to watch you smiling and really laughing it up in the New York Rangers press box during HNIC. I was so mad I threw your bobblehead doll across the room harder than that angry journalist threw his shoe at George Bush.

But I don’t want an apology. You can stick those in a sack. I was stupid enough to have thought that we might be able to pick up the broken pieces of our relationship and that you would come home and lead us back to the promise land, even if our chances of making the playoffs in the near future are as slim as Sean Avery shutting his trap. But I must warn you that somewhere down the line, not too far from now, you will regret what you’ve done. It might not happen this year, especially if your sipping out of Lord Stanley’s mug on the deck of your fishing boat, but mark my words it will happen. You see, Leaf fans are an ignorant, vengeful lot who are led by an incompetent organization that has a weird way of sticking it to its heroes. (Just ask Dave Keon, Darryl Sittler, or your fellow countryman Borje Salming, who told you that he deeply regretted not retiring in a Blue and White jersey).

So what can you expect? Well, for starters you might hear a few boos from the cheap seats when you come to town in February as a member of the Canucks. That shouldn’t hurt much. What will hurt is when the organization decides to retire your number…in 2031…and your invitations to the hall of fame games get lost in the mail. You see, we’ll still love you and call you our own. We just won’t be in any rush to honour your achievements and build statues of you around town.

Longingly yours,



A goodbye letter to Mats

  1. WooHooo!
    Second round playoffs, here we come!
    Now, if we could just get Errol Thompson out of retirement…

  2. Oh please. The bitter reverse-Dear-John letter might be a little more convincing if you hadn’t just retired Wendy Clark’s number 45 seconds ago. Yeah, I’m sure Sundin’s terrified that future Leaf fans will stop hyper-romanticizing old-time players who couldn’t carry the team into the final. That’s sure to happen.

  3. Vancouver has no chance of getting out of the Western Conference. Sundin is going regret this decision, but at least he will be $20 million richer.

  4. Hey, Mr. Ainswerth Vince,

    I’m with you. Although I fully contend that Mats earned the right to refuse to be traded, and to be afforded our respect for his decision, he squandered all of that good will by spending six months of sitting on top of his mountain like a freakin Chinese poet. And, the tragedy of that waiting game was that we didn’t even have to wait that long to realize that he was gone, gone, gone, and never coming back. He led us to exactly zero Stanley cups, and left without so much as a draft pick for us to show for our good faith and copious admiration. Now, we just look dumb.

    He actually made Leafs Nation, the most rabid fans in the league (not to mention the ones with the longest memories) start looking forward to a chance to boo him. That is just sad. Mats, you broke hearts with this stuff.

    Oh, and, Vancouver is the Leafs five years ago. Remember? When we didn’t win the cup? That’s you, again. Nice move, jackass.

  5. Stu, I have a hard time remembering five years ago, when the Leafs didn’t win the cup. I confuse it with the other 40 years the Leafs didn’t win the cup.

    So, the Canucks add, without giving up anything, last years 20th leading scorer. Uhhh.. yeah, that IS a nice move. In an instant they have completey upgraded their offence. They have one of the deepest D-lines in the league, and when Luongo returns, they will have the best goaltender.

    Is that enough to get past the Sharks and Wings? Probably not, but if Luongo gets hot, it would not be he firt time a hot goalie takes a team to the Stanley Cup. And having an extra top-6 forward is not going to hurt. Unless you think that replacing Ryan Johnson (4 points) with Mats Sundin somehow makes the team worse. And their last Leaf castoff – Kyle Wellwood – is doing okay.

  6. I enjoyed the Seinfeld reference. Very good.

  7. I don’t know how you can bash this guy. He played out his contract and took some time off. He was the heart and soul of the buds ever since Dougie left. He put the team on his shoulders so many times, so many clutch goals. MLSE’s pathetic mismanagement in the post pat quinn era would be enough to crush any Leaf fan’s hopes for glory, even this large good natured swede. He owes Toronto nothing. You want to point fingers? MLSE. I would say thanks for sticking it out Mats, good luck in the future, hope you get that cup, and I’m glad you’re cashing in now on someone else’s payroll in the Western Conference.

  8. More sour grapes from a Leafs fan? Say it isn’t so…I’m shocked. Ah Leafs fans…always blaming everyone else for the fact that their team is over paid, over idolized, and yet just really hasn’t been that good for 30 or 40 years.

  9. What? Matts Sundin has left Toronto? I should have guessed from how much worse they got . . . oh wait.. they weren’t winning before he departed.

    I am amazed at the Big Smoke’s angst over his departure. He was a Leaf for an inordinate period of time, with a team with little hope of victory. He gave Toronto more than could ever be asked of him and now, in the twilight of his career, he’s taking another shot at a championship and getting a fairsized pay-cheque. Good for him.

    So the Leaf got nothing for him. The Oilers lost Gretzky at the height of their glory and got nothing but Jimmy Carson for him.

  10. For one thing, the Leafs generally refuse to honor the achievements of anyone.

    And another thing, after 13 seasons with the Leafs, you still whine when he decides to move on? Leaf fans would whine if he left after 100 seasons. One great season after another he gives ya, and then all you can do is whine at the end of it.

    Typical Leafs fan.