Mats Sundin Interview:
It’s official. The Leafs are about to raise Mats Sundin’s number 13 to the rafters.
The Leafs will honor Sundin’s number 13 with a ceremony, February 11. The Montreal Canadiens, no strangers to ceremony, will be the opposition.
Sundin was accorded a lengthy ovation when introduced in the first period of the Leafs’ game against Pittsburgh. Now that the ceremony date is official, Sundin is ecstatic.
"To get a chance to represent the Leafs and play in a city like this, you watch a game from the stands and the atmosphere…it’s tough to describe in words."
At 40, Sundin said the team’s two runs to the final four were the best moments of his career.
"You win one playoff game in the first round and people celebrate like you win the Stanley Cup. It’s very special. I don’t think you see that anywhere else."
Sundin will become the 16th player to be so honored. The list includes Syl Apps, Ted Kennedy, Turk Broda, Johnny Bower, Tim Horton, King Clancy, George Armstrong, Charlie Conacher, Frank Mahovlich, Darryl Sittler, Hap Day, Red Kelly, Borje Salming, Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour.
The club only retires numbers of superior players whose careers were shortened due to death or calamity. The only retired numbers are the number 6 worn by Ace Bailey and later Ron Ellis and Bill Barilko’s number 5.