Leafs fans give Nazem Kadri standing ovation in return to Toronto with Avalanche

While his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t end like he wanted it to, the organization did a little better when it came to Nazem Kadri’s return to Scotiabank Arena.

After being drafted by the Maple Leafs in the first round of the 2009 draft and playing parts of ten seasons with the franchise, Kadri was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in the deal that brought Tyson Barrie and Alexander Kerfoot north of the border over the summer. Wednesday night was Kadri’s first time back in Toronto wearing a jersey that doesn’t have the Maple Leafs’ logo on it.

During the first television timeout of the contest, a video tribute to Kadri was played for him and all in attendance to enjoy.

While it was difficult to read Kadri’s reaction to his moment in the spotlight as the video played, there’s no doubt his parents — Sue and Sam — were appreciative.

A fierce, rugged competitor on the ice, it shouldn’t be surprising that Kadri didn’t appear very emotional during his tribute. He revealed after the game — a 3-1 victory for Colorado — that plenty of things were swirling below the calm demeanour he displayed at the time.

Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche gestures to the crowd at Scotiabank Arena while being recognized for his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Kishan Mistry/Yahoo Sports Canada)

"I came close to shedding a tear there,” Kadri said, according to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox. “I'm just forever thankful for the fans for embracing me and treating me so well here in Toronto, and I just tried to give them everything I had."

He expanded on those words via his Twitter account a little later on Wednesday night.

These sentiments were similar to the one he shared off the ice earlier in the day. According to Justin Cuthbert of Yahoo Sports, Kadri said that “we’d be here all day” if he were to talk about all of his favourite memories as a Maple Leaf.

He scored 161 goals and collected 357 points in his 561 regular season games with Toronto. He added another three goals and ten points in 19 postseason contests.

Through 26 games this season, Kadri has ten goals and 20 points with Colorado.

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