​Mats Sundin & Friends share hockey stories and cancer connections at Princess Margaret event

By Sheri Block 

(L-R Glenn Healy, Nicklas Lidstrom, Mats Sundin and Tie Domi talk hockey and the importance of supporting cancer research at The Princess Margaret)

More than 200 guests were treated to a special afternoon with hockey legends Mats Sundin, Tie Domi, Nicklas Lidstrom and host Glenn Healy Saturday at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. 

The hockey legends shared stories of their time in the NHL, as well as their personal connections to cancer.

“My mother-in-law had a 10-year-long fight with cancer so I’m very aware personally the message you get if you get a diagnosis of cancer. It’s a battle for life usually,” said Sundin, former Toronto Maple Leafs captain.

Lidstrom’s mother is also facing breast cancer.

“Cancer is a terrible disease so I’m doing whatever I can, my part, to help out,” he said.

Healy, former Leafs goalie and NHL Alumni Association executive director, said he’s fighting for former Leafs equipment manager Scotty McKay, who was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 and treated at The Princess Margaret. He was also in attendance at the event.

Domi, a long-time Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer, said cancer touches everyone, which is why it’s important to support centres like The Princess Margaret. 

“It’s been (almost) 25 years since this place has been built. They saw 7,000 patients then, now they have 17,000 (new patients per year) so I think everything everybody is doing today is making a big difference,” said Domi. 

(Mats Sundin and Tie Domi share a laugh as they reminisce about their time with the Maple Leafs)

There was also plenty of talk about the good ol’ hockey game and Sundin told the crowd the best time of his life was playing for the Maple Leafs. 

He began his career with the Quebec Nordiques and recalls being at home in Sweden for the summer when he found out he’d be playing for the Leafs the following season. 

“I had no idea what that meant until I actually came over and understood what the Maple Leafs mean for the city of Toronto, for the country of Canada,” said Sundin.

He said the team was made up of great players, including Healy and Domi, and they made it to the Conference Finals twice. 

“Those are great memories I will keep for the rest of my life. I learned a lot about leadership, I learned how important it was to give back to the community, it’s one of the reasons we’re here,” said Sundin.

He also expressed his desire to see the Stanley Cup finally come to Toronto.

“We’re all hoping that the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to win the Stanley Cup and not only for the players and management, it’s all for the fans of Toronto who deserve to see a championship here. It hasn’t been here for a long time so we’re all waiting for that,” said Sundin. 

Domi said while it was nice to see all the Leafs fans in the audience, he was “obviously a Habs fan now.”

After some good-natured booing from the crowd, Domi explained why he was now cheering for the Leafs’ biggest rival. 

“I did have the most fights in NHL history and I did it for that blue and white jersey but as you know blood is thicker than water, my son is playing for the Habs.”

He also had kind words for his former Leafs teammate Sundin, who became like his brother during their time playing together and is now like a father and uncle to his kids. 

“It’s really nice to know that the greatest Maple Leaf of all time, the lead scorer, for him to give back to this hospital, I’m honoured to be here with him and Nicklas and Heals,” Domi said. 

(L-R Tie Domi, Mats Sundin, former Leafs equipment manager and cancer survivor Scotty McKay, Dr. Jonas Mattsson, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation President & CEO Michael Burns, Nicklas Lidstrom and Glenn Healy pose for a photo backstage.)

Mats Sundin & Friends was held in support of The Princess Margaret’s Hans Messner Allogeneic Transplant Program.

“The Princess Margaret is absolutely world-class. We have the excellence here to make a difference. We have the talent and drive to help our patients, and patients all over the world. I’m grateful to everyone here today for their support,” said the program’s director Dr. Jonas Mattsson.

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