Mitch Marner is signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs through the 2024-25 season, is a newly-minted alternate captain and all is right in the world after his team bested the Ottawa Senators on opening night.
After the frenzied state of his contract negotiations throughout the summer, Marner apparently felt inclined to show love to the passionate Maple Leafs fan base, as well as the city of Toronto, in a letter posted Thursday.
Marner, who is clearly reading from a script, begins his speech by rattling off the team’s rich history, with an ode to legends of the past including Mats Sundin, Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour, Rick Vaive, Johnny Bower and Darryl Sittler.
The 22-year-old then alludes to his drawn-out contract negotiations, which led to him signing a six-year extension worth an average annual value of $10.893 million.
“You’ve always been the centre of the hockey world, and this summer was crazy for all of us,” Marner remarks.
Marner then notes the city’s support for the Toronto Raptors on their road to their first title in franchise history, along with the fervour for Mississauga’s Bianca Andreescu, who captured the 2019 US Open.
Marner then recalls his road from the OHL’s London Knights and said it was always his dream to play for the Maple Leafs, then tells the audience that is where he’s going to stay, a point rendered moot by the extension he signed on Sept. 13.
The timing is certainly a bit curious. Why not release the video after signing the extension, as opposed to a day after the season opener? Toronto won 5-3, with the primary focus on John Tavares being unveiled as captain.
Perhaps it’s a cynical reading, but Marner’s message would certainly ring more authentic if he wasn’t reading directly off a piece of paper. All is forgiven, nonetheless, Mitch. Welcome back to Leafs Nation, we’re glad you’re here for the next little while, too.
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