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Dear Mats,

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Dear Mats,

Greetings from Toronto. Sorry I did not get back to you sooner, but you know the deal, wives, kids, commitments. It’s not like I have all summer to hike through the fjords, fishing and camping whenever I like.

Mats, I have tried to say this in less direct terms but I don’t think the message is being received. It has become a burden being your advisor, consigliore and confidant.

Sure, it was easy enough in the beginning. I picked your number and steered you away from that helmet that made you look like the Great Kazoo. I found you a place, advised you on real estate and counseled you on whether to accept the captaincy.  Borje wouldn’t listen to me but you did and, as I predicted, you became a splendid leader under my tutelage.

I did not mind writing your speeches, picking out your suits or advising you on the perfect lie for your stick.

Sure, I had a young family, but you were becoming a hockey legend and to be fair, I enjoyed being Alfred to your Batman, kicking back with Cuj, you, Tie and that crazy sonofagun Stumpy.

It was fine through the first decade or so, advising , steering, moulding. Remember that day I told you to shave your head? “Mats, you are running out of options,” I said.. To your credit, you made the look your own. Remember when I counseled you to accept Ken Dryden’s contract offer?

To this day, no one knows about my brainchild, Mike/Mats Industries, the Scandinavian Underwear Companies, the upcoming purchase of the Nashville Predators and our newest venture, personalized ju-jubes.

But as I have been saying for years, the time has come for us to go our separate ways. I have extensive holdings of my own and I want to diversify and leave some legacy multi-nationals for the young ones.

I thought it was clear when I refused to help you make up your mind at the trade deadline that you could no longer count on my services.

Imagine my surprise when you essentially decided to stay put and have now put the entire hockey world on the back-burner while you figure out your future.

Okay, just one last time…Mats, baby, you scored 32 goals last year. You had 78 points. You’ve got the rest of your life to rest.

I can’t tell you where to play. For once, you are going to have to make up your own mind. Consider that $10 million a year offer I solicited from the Canucks to be my parting gift to you and a way to brace yourself, financially, for the lean times to come when I am no longer the power behind the throne.

I will give you one piece of advice about your future. Get on with it.
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