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.