To say that the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner is ONLY working in the relief efforts to fight the COVID-19 global pandemic would be an overstatement. He’s also busy trying to stay in hockey playing shape. However, the young Toronto forward is doing his part for sure.
A Letter to Young Maple Leafs Fans
On April 8, during a three-way conference-call between himself, teammate Auston Matthews, and former teammate and friend Patrick Marleau, Marner posted a hand-written letter especially directed to young hockey fans on social media. His message? He wanted them to know they weren’t alone during this difficult time.
It was a really nice gesture aimed at a particular demographic of his Maple Leafs fanbase – kids.
As Sportsnet reported, part of the letter noted, “It’s really hard knowing some of you are scared and worried about what’s happening around the world right now. You’re not alone. I get scared too.”
Marner went on, “What helps me is knowing that my friends, teammates, and family are feeling the same way. We are doing what we can to help each other. If you need somewhere to go to talk about your feelings or worries, Kids Help Phone is here for you – just text 686868. Someone is always there.”
Good on Marner or someone wise enough to help him see and seize an opportunity to help others. He’s a good model forward that, although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused plenty of changes to daily life, all of us working together can get through this and help others along the way.
The Marner Assist Fund
That was last week, on April 16, CBC Sports reported Marner’s announcement that the Marner Assist Fund is working with organizations dealing with front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marner noted that “It started off first by donating meals to families in need. I’m trying to donate money to get as many meals out as we can to families that are in need. Now we’re trying to get a lot of money to try and give back to all the workers still working [like] police officers, firefighters, delivery services, any kind of service … just in any way possible we can help get them the right tools to stay healthy on the front lines and do their job as best they can.”
Again, for a young hockey player, he’s either got his head screwed on straight or someone is giving him sage advice. In the CBC Sports article, Marner also said that he’d love to be back playing and, if it came to that, playing in the summer is something he would support. However, he’d only want that to happen if such involvement were safe for everyone involved.
Speaking about staying in game shape, Marner noted that he’s been in his backyard golfing as a way to work on his hand-eye coordination during the period of time he’s self-quarantined.
He reported that “I have a golf net in the backyard, so I hit golf balls into that. Hitting a golf ball with one of my irons and playing around with the dog like that. Hoping my hands will come back when I grab a hockey stick again … hopefully will grab one around the house and start to stickhandle.”
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Should the regular season somehow continue, Marner would love to add to his total of 16 goals, 51 assists, and 67 points in 59 games for the season.
For full admission, the 22-year-old forward admitted that he’s enjoyed sleeping in until 9:30 a.m. – when he can. Perhaps he’d sleep longer, except that his 11-month-old black lab (who’s named Zeus) frequently needs to be taken out at 8 am.
But, as Marner hopefully noted, “He’s been sleeping in a bit more the past couple of days, so we’ll see.”
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