Loyalty is what I call an edifying value. To me, that mean’s it grows as it’s employed. If one person is constantly loyal, it inspires loyalty among others. It creates bonding relationships between people. It creates a sense of belonging. People simply want to be around people they know are loyal.

Why? Because loyalty encompasses a range of positive qualities and has the potential to create meaningful and lasting relationships.

Related: What Shane Doan Brings to the Maple Leafs’ Front Office

Why This Conversation Could Be Important

Auston Matthews is currently in the middle of negotiating a potential contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has made it clear that he likes playing in Toronto and he likes his teammates. That’s his intention – to stay with the Maple Leafs.

There are a few choices he can make. First, he could sign for a long term, committing himself to the team for much of the remainder of his career. Or, he could try to maximize his flexibility and probably his income by taking a shorter-term deal. That puts him on the market again during his peak age and at a time when the salary cap might be growing. There would then be more money to go around.

There are not only implications for his career but for the team and its fans, as well.

What If Matthews Said, Forget Salary I’m Loyal to the Maple Leafs?

My first caveat is that I won’t blame Matthews for any choice he makes. He has that right, and he should take it. However, …

Few people, in this day and age in professional sports, believe that Matthews will commit long-term to the Maple Leafs. Not now. He has the flexibility and his earning potential is at a crossroads.

But, for the sake of consideration, what if he did say “Forget the salary. I like it here. I’ll stay to show the team and the fans that I’m all in. I want to show by my actions that they equal my statements.”

What would that mean to the Maple Leafs and their fans?

Related: It’s Not Auston Matthews’ Fault: The System is Broken for Fans

Matthews Has the Potential to Transform the Maple Leafs

In short, I believe Matthews has the potential to transform the Maple Leafs through an act of commitment and loyalty to the team. By taking a longer-term contract extension, Matthews could send a powerful message of loyalty to the organization and its fans. This act of loyalty would strengthen relationships within the team. It would also foster unity and a sense of belonging.

Furthermore, it would deepen the bond between Matthews and the fans. It could (and likely would) create an environment of support and enthusiasm. Practically, his commitment to the team would help build a stronger team. His action could (and probably would) also attract other talented players – especially those who’d love to play on a team that’s a “band of brothers.”

Matthews Could Revolutionize the Maple Leafs

Were Matthews to signal his commitment to the Maple Leafs for the long term, it could help build a winning team by building a winning culture. In my research work as an academic when I looked at what made organizations successful, the key aspect was to create a deep change in the organization’s culture. Matthews signing for the long term could have a domino effect to change the team’s culture.

Finally, by choosing loyalty over short-term gains, Matthews could leave a lasting legacy. Not only would he solidify his place in the hearts of fans for generations to come. He could help create the kind of team that attracts players to come play and that wins the Stanley Cup. He would become THE franchise’s best player – and I mean ever.

What Loyalty Could Do for a Team Like the Maple Leafs

What’s so neat about acts of loyalty is that they are based on mutual respect, reciprocity, and genuine care for one another. When practiced in a healthy and balanced way, loyalty can be a powerfully creative force. It can enrich relationships, build trust, and contribute to personal and collective well-being.

It might also help the Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup.


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