Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
As the National Hockey League’s trading deadline approached you were asked to consider waiving the no trade clause in your contract to allow the Toronto Maple Leafs to trade you to another team looking to boost their championship chances. You refused to allow the Leafs to trade you.
Let’s face it, the Maple Leafs aren’t exactly trying to build a championship team themselves. If it happens, well that’s just gravy, but it’s not on the proverbial to do list. As the richest team in hockey they know they don’t need to have the pressure of building a Stanley Cup contending team to keep selling out their arena and making money. Hey, if you don’t have to do it, why would you?
As a true superstar, many argued that like Ray Bourque some years ago, you deserved to have your name engraved on the Stanley Cup – hockey’s Holy Grail. Of course you do, but hired guns always lose some degree of respect and you stated that you wouldn’t feel right about winning a Stanley Cup championship without being with that team from the beginning of the year to the last game of the playoffs. You have again shown that you are truly a class act in a vocation – professional athlete – where class acts are difficult to find.
You are a definite future Hockey Hall of Fame member. You are the Toronto Maple Leafs’ all-time leader in goals and points – no small feat with such a storied franchise. You are one of the best and most consistent in the NHL. You were the first European born player to be drafted number one in the NHL entry draft. You hold the NHL record for most overtime goals – earning you the nickname of Captain Clutch. You are ranked 21st. 34th and 29th all-time in NHL goals, assists and points respectively. You are the longest serving European captain of an NHL team in history. You are the first Swedish player to reach the coveted 500 goal mark. You have the most career goals, assists and points by a Swedish player. You are the only Swedish player to reach 1000 points. You are a true leader on and off the ice and then there’s that class thing that was mentioned earlier. Is anyone else seeing the big picture here? Still the organization wanted to trade you to another team.
Thank you for having principles.