Ex-Maple Leaf Opens Up About Playing in Toronto

Nick Ritchie loved every minute of playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the now Arizona Coyotes forward is disappointed it couldn't have worked out better. While the childhood dream was fulfilled, the struggles took a toll and Ritchie is quite happy to land on his feet in the desert.

The rugged winger met up with David Alter of Sports Illustrated and talked about his time in Toronto and what it meant to him and his family:

It’s a dream come true to come back and play for a coach that I know and a hometown team that I think it’s just going to fit really good I think. (Months later)... I just didn’t get off to a good start and I think it snowballed from there. It was nice to get a fresh start and get it going again. I’m happy and the past is the past and I’m looking forward to next year.

Ritchie signed a two-year contract worth $2.5 million per season and after a very slow start, the Maple Leafs decided it was time to move on. He likely put too much pressure on himself, playing in front of family and friends and being a part of your hometown team isn't necessarily going to work out for everyone. 

The 26-year-old winger now enters a contract season, looking to continue to put goals on the board and use his big body to have an impact on the game. He managed 14 points in 24 games with the Coyotes last season and will be looking to continue to keep things rolling next season in the desert. There's no doubt the Maple Leafs hold a special place in his heart.

Photo credit:   Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports