Doug Gilmour was a fantastic player. Though he bounced around the NHL, there's one team he's associated with the most nowadays: the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Naturally, they take up a rather large chunk of the letter to his younger self he has for The Players' Tribune. It's a truly beautiful piece - not just about hockey, but a bit about life in general, and where it all began for him.
From his dad instilling a work ethic in him, to his own personal mantra:
Too small? F--- you.
From actually making the NHL to begin with, even though a lot seemed to be stacked against him, to the highest of highs: scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal.
And from there, to the lowest of lows, a recognition of his own lack of maturity at the time, and what led to his coming to Toronto after demanding a trade - and his meeting with Pat Burns.
Even better than that: how he and Burns devised how they were going to turn the Leafs around when he came in. And this is a particularly wonderful passage:
This will go on for hours. After 10 beers, you will have planned out the ’93 Toronto Maple Leafs. You will have planned out how to not stink. How to win.
Pat will say, "Doug, I need you to be the best player in practice. Every day."
And you will say, "Pat, yes. Yes. I will do that."
And Pat will say, "If you do that, everybody else will follow."
And you will say, "Pat, I’m not sure I can stand up."
And you will stumble into a cab and go home.
And that's how the Leafs got to one of their best runs in semi-recent history.
Naturally he discusses the high stick, just as he discusses his other run-ins with Wayne Gretzky over the years. But as Gilmour closes: there's more out there than a missed call, as devastating as it was at the time.
Doug Gilmour's letter to his younger self gives you even greater reason to love him.