Marner wants to be role model like Gilmour, Sundin were to him
In a season in which the Toronto Maple Leafs are making a point to appreciate their history, rookie Mitch Marner requires no prompting.
The 19-year-old from nearby Markham, Ontario explained Saturday in advance of his home debut that the Maple Leafs legends he grew up watching - many of whom were named to the franchise's top-100 players list revealed Friday - were the inspiration behind getting him to this stage.
Now that he's here, he wants to continue that tradition.
"I think just watching every (Maple Leafs) game, it inspired me to want to be a hockey player," Marner said, according to TSN's Kristen Shilton. "Watching Dougie Gilmour, Mats Sundin, guys like that come into this city and they're a lead role model to kids.
"Now it's my time to try and be a role model for younger kids and just try and make sure their goal is to play in the NHL one day."
A student of hockey history and the Maple Leafs, Marner already knows he'll make memories on Saturday that he'll cherish for the rest of his life.
"For me personally (hearing my name introduced is) going to be kind of breathtaking. I figure for my friends and parents in the crowd, it's going to be pretty crazy for them too. It's going to be a night that's going to be remembered for a long time."
Marner didn't score four goals like fellow rookie Auston Matthews, but still impressed in Toronto's season opener in Ottawa. He created ample offensive chances and rang a shot off the bar within his first few shifts.