Editor's Note: Presented without comment.
Dear Citizens of Vancouver,
Last season, I had two things on my mind. One was the consideration of retirement. The other, I hoped a deal could be signed to keep me in Toronto through retirement, if I chose to continue playing. Though the people of Toronto did not readily accept me, after years of playing every game with grit and intensity, they gradually became, I think, quite fond of me. Though it hurt to see it, I believed that last season, those people who so vocally wanted to drive me out of Toronto were the loud-mouthed minority. I thought that the years of service, devotion to my team, and my proud identification as a Maple Leaf meant more than being cast off as trade bait. I am not so sure any more.
In any case, despite many efforts by me and my agent to find some common ground for a new deal, throughout last season and this, I have come to accept that the current management has absolutely no interest in keeping my association with Toronto. For my part, I accept the criticism that thoughts of retirement made the situation worse. I understood that all along, but had to be completely honest about my feelings that I did not want to play at less than my top form, which requires all of my focus and determination.
I have kept my thoughts about Toronto management to myself and will continue that. The sting of rejection from Toronto fans has left a lasting impression on me. The intensity of the interest by Vancouver management has helped ease much of that pain. It is good to feel wanted after being cast off by people you thought were dear friends. It is nice to be playing where the management seems to be focused. It is also nice to continue playing where hockey matters. In Vancouver, my hope is that with my former team-mate Kyle, we can deliver what we so much longed for in Toronto, a Stanley Cup.