The Toronto Maple Leafs will celebrate the achievements of their all-time leading scorer, Mats Sundin, on February 11, 2012 when the Montreal Canadiens visit Air Canada Centre. Sundin will have his #13 sweater banner raised to the rafters that evening to honour his prolific performance on the ice and for his extraordinary contributions in the community.
Sundin will become the 16th individual in the long history of the Original Six franchise to be honoured. His banner will join those of Syl Apps, Ted Kennedy, Walter ‘Turk’ Broda, Johnny Bower, Tim Horton, Frank ‘King’ Clancy, George Armstrong, Charlie Conacher, Frank Mahovlich, Darryl Sittler, Clarence ‘Hap’ Day, Leonard ‘Red’ Kelly, Borje Salming, Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour.
The Maple Leafs historically only retire numbers of distinguished players that have died or had their career shortened due to tragic or catastrophic circumstances while being a member of the team. Irvine ‘Ace’ Bailey (#6) and Bill Barilko (# 5) are the two represented in this category, and both have banners in their name at Air Canada Centre.
Sundin, now 40, played in 981 career games for the Maple Leafs, registering 420 goals, 567 assists and 987 points. In 1,346 career NHL games with Toronto, Quebec and Vancouver, Sundin scored 564 goals and 785 assists for 1,349 points.
The 17th captain for the Blue and White became the franchise’s all-time leader in goals and points on October 11, 2007 against the New York Islanders. Sundin also scored 20 or more goals for 17 consecutive NHL seasons, 13 with the Maple Leafs. He holds the club records for most 20-goal seasons (13) and 30-goal seasons (10).
Sundin was selected to the club’s ‘Top Twenty-Five Players List’ during the team’s 75th Anniversary Season in 2001-02. He captained the team for 11 seasons (1997-2008) and was
named an NHL Second-Team All-Star in 2001-02 and 2003-04. The Bromma, Sweden native ranks among the NHL’s best, standing 21st (tie) in all-time goals and 26th(tie) in points. Sundin is tied with three others for most regular season overtime goals in NHL history with 15.
Internationally, Sundin has represented Sweden at three Olympics, seven World Championships, twice at the World Cup of Hockey; as well as at the 1991 Canada Cup and at the 1990 World Junior Championships. Sundin captained Team Sweden to the country’s first Olympic Gold Medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.
The Maple Leafs acquired Sundin in a multi-player trade with Quebec on June 28, 1994. Sundin was originally selected by Quebec, first overall, in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. He announced his retirement as a player September 30, 2009.
As captain of the hockey club, Sundin began the tradition of Captain’s Corner within Air Canada Centre for Maple Leaf games and all other arena events as well. Instituted during the 1999-2000 season, Captain’s Corner recognized children in the community that overcame daily physical, mental, emotional, and social challenges. In an effort to brighten the lives of children throughout Toronto, Captain’s Corner was associated with Youth Assisting Youth and other charitable organizations.
Beginning in the 1993-94 campaign, the hockey club began a practice in which former Maple Leaf greats were honoured. A special banner, portraying the player’s image and sweater number, is displayed permanently high above centre ice at the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs. With this long-standing tradition, the former player’s honoured number stays in circulation and is deemed an “Honoured Number”.