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Svehla Having Second Thoughts?

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
by Matthew Iaboni

Is Robert Svehla going to be in Blue and White next season?

The answer will depend on his family.

Over the weekend reports in the Toronto Sun said that Svehla spoke with Leafs G.M. and head coach Pat Quinn last week about the defenceman returning to the ice in the fall.

Will Svehla be back for 2003-04?
Graig Abel Photography
Although Svehla issued a statement earlier in the spring stating that he had accepted a position with Dukla Trenchin Hockey Team in Slovakia as Vice President/Director responsible for junior player development, he seems to be waivering in his decision now and says that he'll leave much of the choice to his family and their happiness.

"I could, perhaps, just say to them that we're returning to Toronto for one more year and that would be it. But I don't want to do that. I want them (his wife and two children), to tell me that they want to return," Svehla told the Sun.

Svehla spoke with Leafs' captain Mats Sundin at the World Championships and the Swede would like to see Svehla back next season.

"He told me I'd be crazy not to return to Toronto because the team needs me." Svehla said he will also be speaking with Leafs goalie Ed Belfour in the next few days.

Svehla had an outstanding year with Toronto. He was second on the team in assists with 38 and he tied for fifth on the team in points with 45 while playing all 82 games.

Regardless of Svehla's decision, the Leafs will need to upgrade their defence. March acquistions Glen Wesley and Phil Housley will both be unrestrictred free agents on July 1. Wesley has said he would like to stay with the Leafs.

If Svehla does retire, Toronto will have an even busier offseason than planned.

The Leafs should know his answer within the next two weeks.
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