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CANCER

Mats Sundin in massive kid’s health research gift

Mats Sundin, the ex-Swedish ice hockey great, has donated 2.2 million kronor ($330,000) to researchers at Karolinska University in Stockholm and the University of Toronto, stating the gesture was in thanks of the support he had been given throughout his storied hockey career.

Mats Sundin in massive kid's health research gift

“I have got so incredibly much out of my friends, both in terms of experience and economically. I have searched for a way to give back to Toronto as a city, to the people there and in Sweden,” said Sundin to Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

The money was donated to a Swedish-Canadian research project in children’s health and cancer research, and comes soon after Sundin’s ice-hockey jersey was raised to the rafters of Toronto’s Air Canada Centre on Saturday.

The gift will be announced at a Friday press conference in Toronto at 11am local time.

“I believe it’s important that every child gets a fair chance at the start of its life. It feels good to be able to help in finding ways to prevent illnesses and to help people along the way,” said Sundin in a statement.

Karolinska Institutet and the University of Toronto have cooperated since 1996 in the reseach of cancer and stem cell biology, among other things.

The money will be used to found the “Mats Sundin Award”, which will support an exchange programme between top-level researchers at both institutions.

Each year, two candidates will be selected to participate in the programme in order to advance research into regenerative medicine and neurological development.

“It’s excellent that Mats came right now and is giving us resources to develop our cooperation with the University of Toronto. Western medicine has given us lifetimes of 25- to 30-year longer lifespans and we really want these years to be as good as possible,” said Ola Hermanson, senior researcher at the Karolinksa Institute, in a statement.

Mats Sundin enjoyed a career as one of Sweden’s most legendary ice hockey players, with a 20 year professional run that included 1,346 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He retired in 2009.

Sundin was also the most prolific scorer for the Swedish national team, Tre Kronor, between 1991 and 2006 and helped lead the team to a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

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HOCKEY

Sweden’s Rasmus Dahlin first overall pick in NHL draft

Rasmus Dahlin became just the second Swedish-born player to be selected first overall in the NHL draft on Friday when the Buffalo Sabres used the top pick on the rangy teenage defenceman.

Sweden's Rasmus Dahlin first overall pick in NHL draft
Rasmus Dahlin is bound for Buffalo. Photo: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images/AFP
Dahlin, who plays for Frolunda HC in the Swedish league and was widely expected to be the first pick, follows Mats Sundin, who was the top choice of the Quebec Nordiques in 1989.
 
“I just want everything to start,” Dahlin said. “I'm going to bring everything I have to that city. I'm super excited. I can't wait.”
 
Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov went second to the Carolina Hurricanes and the Montreal Canadiens used the third pick to get Finnish centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
 
The draft had a decided Europe flavour as four of the top six players were Europeans. The first American was Brady Tkachuk who went to the Ottawa Senators at No. 4 and the Phoenix Coyotes took the first Canadian Barrett Hayton with the fifth pick. 
 
The 18-year-old Dahlin said he was happy to call Buffalo home despite the fact they haven't had a winning season in the past seven seasons and have missed the playoffs eight years in a row.
 
“It's amazing to finally put on the Buffalo Sabres' jersey,” Dahlin said. “I've been there twice. I love that city.”
 
The six-foot-three, 185-pound Dahlin was honoured as the best defenceman at the 2018 world junior championship in Buffalo, registering six assists in seven games. He also played twice for Sweden as a 17-year-old at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
 
At number six, the Detroit Red Wings chose the brash Halifax Mooseheads winger Filip Zadina who vowed to make teams that passed on him pay down the road.
 
“I'm telling my agent if they will pass on me, I will fill their net with the puck,” the Czech Zadina said. “Yeah, it's just I want to prove to them that they have done a bad decision.”
 
The lone trade of the day came before the draft when the Colorado Avalanche acquired backup goalie Philipp Grubauer and defenceman Brooks Orpik from the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals for the 47th pick. The Capitals were willing to get rid of Orpik and Grubauer so they could create salary cap space to sign free agents.