Remembered as ‘consummate pro’ by former Leaf GMs
“He was the consummate professional and he was a very, very competitive player. If there ever is such thing as a consistent hockey player in the National Hockey League, it would be Mats. Game in, game out, he came to play.
“Mats was not a high-maintenance person, he was very low-key. Probably part of his Swedish personality . . . he was very easy to deal with. He wanted to win, he wanted to lead, and he did.”
“I think Mats off the ice was very much like the Mats that you saw on the ice. The Mats you saw on the ice was that very competitive, driven, generous person. . . . Watch Mats when he scores a goal. Look at his face when he scores a goal, and look at his face when a teammate scores a goal, and it’s the same face. It’s the same face with the same joy, and the same pleasure, and the same excitement. And that is very rare. When you have a person with that kind of generosity who is also your best player, that matters a lot.
“Mats has a real respect for hockey, and a real respect for the history of hockey. Mats is not one of those stars who thinks time began with him and very likely will end with him. Mats is aware of a past, in part from a love of hockey and in part from that respectfulness of those who played before and those who will play after. Mats also has a real affection for Canada. . . . I think Mats was perfectly situated to spend his career in Canada, be the captain of a Canadian team, the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.”
“He was a leader, cared about his teammates, was very dependable and responsible and also was tremendously humble. He could handle the dressing room and support his teammates in great fashion and also showed by example how you try to push your own bar every night, how you try to raise your limits and do more and become better.”
— Pat Quinn
“Mats was easily one of the best leaders and best people in the game. On or off the ice, he was a true professional. Whether it was meeting at various times, for contracts we were negotiating, or figuring out travel back from Europe, he was nothing but first class and low maintenance.
“I have nothing but praise for him as a player, as a future Hall of Famer and one of the true greatest Leafs and all-around players of all time.”
Fonte: Toronto Star