Mats Sundin couldn’t have had a Hollywood writer contrive a better story for his homecoming to Toronto for the first and possibly last time as an NHL player. The build-up to the match up at hand were all surrounding the return of The Maple Leafs’ prodigal son.
Sundin was welcomed with some mixed reactions when he first stepped foot on the ice of the Air Canada Centre. There was a lot of emotion and tension as Sundin skated prior to the game. Fans and Sundin alike didn’t know how to react, didn’t know how each other was thinking.
Regardless of what was going through the heads of the patrons of the ACC, the players on the ice on both benches, the one predominant issue of the night was “The Prodigal Mats Returns”. For thirteen years, Mats Sundin toiled, succeeded, and endured in a Leafs uniform. For ten of those thirteen years, he was their captain. The tension at the ACC was unbearable until they played the tribute video.
Teary-eyed as he took the faceoff, Mats felt the love of a city that once put all their hockey hopes and dreams on his shoulder. He has come back, with another team, and although he was the enemy, both Mats and Toronto, embraced each other once again.
Last night, was an E-True Toronto Love Story. In his own words, Mats Sundin said, “The ovation from the fans was very special. I’ll remember that the rest of my life.”
Even with all the hype that surrounded the return of Toronto’s once former favourite son, the game itself was entertaining to say the least. The Canucks battled back to a shootout victory with no other than Mats Sundin scoring the shootout winner.
A perfect ending to a perfect homecoming for #13.
Just some musings from the mud.