The Toronto Maple Leafs family is sticking together Saturday night at the NHL all-star game, and the four participants representing the Buds on Team Matthews — Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner — wouldn’t have it any other way.
On Friday afternoon, ahead of the skills competition, the four teammates met with fans at the NHL’s fan fair at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Joined by Nylander, Matthews credited Marner’s grit for his selection to his third all-star game.
Rielly called his first all-star experience “great” and mentioned that playing in Toronto made it extra special for him. Rielly also expressed comfort and ease having his teammates — Marner, Matthews, and Nylander — by his side at the event.
During the conversation, Rielly shared his excitement about playing against Sidney Crosby, who he had watched play when he was younger. Marner, a GTA native, expressed that playing in the NHL all-star game in his hometown is a “bucket-list” moment for him.
Team Matthews, comprised of Auston Matthews, Filip Forsberg, Clayton Keller, Mathew Barzal, Vincent Trocheck, Alex DeBrincat, Jake Oettinger, Igor Shesterkin, and celebrity captain Justin Bieber, acknowledged their team’s strengths and weaknesses. Marner jokingly pointed out the lack of passers in their lineup and Rielly humorously remarked that he was the only defenseman on the team.
Rielly and Marner also had a candid conversation with fans about their interests, including their love for their dogs, cologne preferences, pre-game meals, favorite road cities, and teams they dislike playing against.
Both Rielly and Marner emphasized the importance of enjoying the game and having fun. They shared advice for aspiring players to work hard, make the most of practice, and always be prepared.
The NHL all-star game captured the attention of hockey fans on Saturday, with a prize of $1 million awaiting the winning team.
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