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Former Maple Leaf Mats SundinPhoto illustration The Globe and Mail. Source photo: Christine Olsson/TT News Agency via/The Associated Press

Weeks before Max Domi was riding shotgun alongside Auston Matthews on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ top line, a very well-connected – and well-known – observer had predicted big things for the winger this season.

And no, it wasn’t his father Tie, the former Leafs enforcer. Instead it was Domi’s godfather, who happens to be the Leafs’ franchise scoring leader.

“I watched Max play minor hockey since he was seven years old, I went to watch him play games,” Mats Sundin said back in February, when he made a rare visit to Toronto for the NHL all-star game. “For him to wear the Leafs jersey, it’s very special. It’s great to see him play and I think once the playoffs start, he’s going to be a very important part of the run that the Maple Leafs are going to make.”

The former Maple Leafs captain, who retired in 2009 after a cameo appearance with the Vancouver Canucks, holds almost every career goal-scoring record in the Maple Leafs record book … for now. After his 69-goal season, Matthews is just 52 back of Sundin’s career mark of 420 in a Leafs sweater, and is closing in on the Swede’s records for game-winning goals (79) and overtime markers (14), too.


Unlike the current crop, though, Sundin was fortunate enough to experience a fair degree of playoff success in a city that lives and dies with the Leafs in spring. Twice he led the team to the conference final, coming up short against the Buffalo Sabres in 1999 and the Carolina Hurricanes in 2002. But he likes what he sees with this year’s group, and is hopeful that the additions general manager Brad Treliving brought in last off-season will pay dividends when the real games start this weekend.

“It’s always going to be pressure playing in Toronto, but they’re young, they’re growing and every time they go into a playoff round they’re going to learn,” the Hall of Famer said. “They made some additions with players, Max included, that I think is going to make them better once the playoffs start.”

When and where were you happiest in your life?

Well, I think I’m happiest right now. I think going to watch my nine-year-old son, his hockey practice and when he has a game. I’m very happy, right? Everything has its time but right now that’s where I’m the happiest.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

My wife, Josephine, is the greatest love of my life, and my kids of course. Three kids, 11, 9 and 7.

What is your greatest achievement?

I’ll say my family and my kids are going to be my greatest achievement for sure.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I don’t know. I think the runs here, and going to the conference finals here, I would call that extravagance. Nothing beats that. My strongest memory from hockey is driving down to the Air Canada Centre [now Scotiabank Arena] and all the Bay Street people are wearing the Leaf jerseys. It was the best time of my life.

What do you most value in your friends?

Humour, I think. Yeah, humour I would say I value most.

Where would you most like to live in the world?

I consider Toronto home as well, but right now we really enjoy living in Stockholm, so that’s where we live.

Who are your heroes?

I think my wife is my hero right now. She’s doing a fantastic job of keeping up with me. Handling me and our three kids.

What is your most treasured possession?

My kids, for sure.

What talent would you most like to have in the world?

Oh my god. Playing the piano.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Let’s say honesty, I’m fairly honest.

On what occasion do you lie?

I lie mostly when my wife asks me questions. I throw in a white lie.

Are you a reader? Do you have any favourite writers?

I read a lot of books actually. And there’s a Swedish writer, P.O. Enquist, he is one of my favourite writers. He actually did his own autobiography and it’s one of my favourite books. He was a famous writer in Sweden and Europe.

What is your greatest regret?

I don’t know if I have a lot of regrets really. I mean, I’ve been very blessed with the life I’ve had and playing hockey for a living.

What is your greatest fear?

I think anything happening to my family and my kids would be my greatest fear.

Which living person do you most admire?

My mom and dad of course. My parents were fantastic to me my whole childhood.

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