Mats Sundin was the last player to take his spot in the Hall of Fame on Monday night and closed the ceremony with a terrific speech in the city he called home for most of his NHL career, Toronto.
The former Maple Leafs captain, who also helped Sweden to the Olympic gold medal in 2006, was every bit the class act that we came to expect from him throughout his strong career. He thanked the usual people during his speech -- the fans, the management, his family -- but he also spelled out his thanks to the people who we sometimes forget; the training staff and equipment managers.
There were too many people to thank directly, so Sundin decided it would be easier to put it this way:
"I wish I could meet everyone and say thanks for everything, but that's impossible. I dedicate my induction today to everyone that has supported me in my hockey career."
Sundin's speech wasn't without color. He reminisced about playing hockey in his basement with his brothers growing up and how his mom or even grandma would serve as the goaltender. She must have been something else with the glove hand because Sundin really learned how to snipe.
He closed out the speech talking about the fans of Toronto and his time with the Maple Leafs, which drew some cheers from the audience.
"When I landed in Toronto on Thursday afternoon I came home," he 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."
His ending in Toronto might have been a bit unceremonious but he goes down as one of the greatest Leafs to ever play. Now he has a spot in the Hall of Fame to prove it.
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