The NHL will start its 92nd season tonight, but without one of its biggest international stars. Mats Sundin, who spent 13 seasons relatively unworthy of note with the Toronto Maple Leafs, retired yesterday.
“Toronto is and always will be my second home,” said Sundin, who gave special thanks to the Maple Leafs organization.
Sundin, an eight-time NHL all-star, is the leading all-time Swedish scorer in NHL history with 564 goals, 785 assists and 1,349 points. And while he never did win a Cup, captaining Sweden to an Olympic gold medal in 2006 did give his career some closure.
“It was a tough decision,” Sundin told reporters of his retirement. “It’s sad to tell you that my career as a pro hockey player is over.”
During his nearly 20 years in the NHL, Sundin help lead a parade of European stars to North America, including fellow Swede Peter Forsberg. Sundin has already ruled out consideration of playing for his homeland in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Which is too bad, because it’s not like they’re gonna notice one more foreigner over there.