Darryl Sittler is a former Leafs captain who enjoyed a Hall-of-Fame career, while playing 16 seasons in the NHL. He is best known for scoring 10 points in a single game, a record that stands to this day.
Playing for the Leafs was a dream-come-true for Mr Sittler, who grew up in Southern Ontario. He spent 12 years with the Leafs and during that time, scored 414 goals and added 567 assists (including playoffs.)
Since retiring, the former eighth overall draft pick has remained active in the community. We caught up with Mr Sittler to ask him what he’s up to these days, his career highlight and what he expects from the Leafs this season.
BT: Mr Sittler, thank you for taking the time to speak to us. We know you’re still involved with the Leafs, but maybe you could start off by explaining what exactly you do for the organisation.
Darryl Sittler: Well, Wendel Clark and I are both former captains of the Leafs and our organisation has good corporate partners, so we do some PR work, including visiting suites. MLSE has a charity team-up foundation, which raises a lot of money, so me and Wendel sit on that board.
We also go out and get involved in the community and give out cheques to people who need them, to help kids play sport. And finally, we come to a lot of the Leafs games and help cheer the team on.
BT: It sounds like it must keep you quite busy. How long have you been involved and what else do you do with your time?
Sittler: I came on board with the Leafs organisation in 1991, so I’ve been involved since then, but it’s not a full-time thing. I have a place in Florida and a cottage on the lake up North, so I try to relax there as much as I can.
I’m involved in the mining industry and sit on some boards for the Toronto stock exchange and I also do public speaking and represent some other companies. So as much as it sounds like working for the Leafs takes up a lot of my time, it doesn’t, but it’s enough to keep me busy and I enjoy it. It’s nice to represent our alumni.
BT: You retired in 1985, so obviously a fair bit of time has passed. However, is there anything in particular that you still miss about playing?
Sittler: Initially when you retire, you miss the camaraderie. You’ve played it all your life, so you miss being with your teammates and experiencing the highs and lows. You definitely miss all of that pretty quickly.
After a while though, you realise that’s one part of your life that you enjoyed and were successful at, but you go on to accept where you are. Now, I’m getting towards the retirement stage. I’m going to be 63 in a couple of weeks, so I make sure I enjoy the quality of life that I have and the opportunities that are still there to make a half-decent living and be a part of the community.
BT: I’m going to guess it would be easy to point out the 10-point game as the highlight of your career, but for you, is that the best moment of your time in the NHL or is there another memory that stands out?
Sittler: Well, in 1976, which was the year I had the 10-point game, I was also fortunate enough to play for Team Canada in the Canada Cup. I scored the overtime goal to win the championship, so I think that was the highlight of my career, as well as representing my country. You’re with the best twenty players in Canada, going up against the top players in the world.
BT: Just finally, what are you expecting from the Leafs this season?
Sittler: There’s so much parity in the league. Obviously we were successful in a shorter schedule last season. I think the way we played against the Bruins in the playoffs has created a lot of expectations not only for the coaches and the management, but the fans as well.
We just have to hope we can continue on from there. We have a young team and we’ve acquired a couple of guys in the summer, David Clarkson and Dave Bolland, who should help.
We’ve also acquired a new goalie in Jonathan Bernier, who should give us some more depth in goal. So yes, the expectations are high, but the league has a lot of parity. We’ll need to get off to a good start and rely on our goaltenders to keep us in the game every night.
BT: Let’s hope they can do that. Thanks again for speaking to us. I appreciate your time.
Sittler: No problem. Enjoy the season!
Photo credit: http://torontomapleleafsatoz.blogspot.ca
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