Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander, despite earning a reported $7 million per season, remains grounded in his daily routine, opting for the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) as his preferred mode of transportation to almost every game. Although a rare few opt for public transit, perhaps surprising to some, he’s not the first millionaire professional athlete to embrace the subway in Toronto.
In his ninth season with the Leafs, Nylander has tallied 18 points in the first 13 games, establishing a franchise-record point streak at the start of the season.
Contrary to expectations of a high-profile athlete arriving at Scotiabank Arena in a flashy car like so many others, Nylander surprised fans by being captured in a photo on Instagram, courtesy of @peaceandlovesports, taking the subway to the game against the Ottawa Senators.
While some fans expressed surprise at seeing a star like Nylander mingling with the public, it has become a routine for the 26-year-old forward. Nylander revealed, “This season, I’ve taken the subway every game except for one. It depends on traffic. People come up and ask for pictures or say hi, but they don’t really bother me. Everybody’s very nice,” he said, to Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun.
As Nylander continues his subway commutes, there’s speculation that he might encourage more teammates to join him, especially considering the team’s tradition of taking the subway to their annual outdoor practice.
Other well-known athletes in Toronto have also liked to ride public transit. Perhaps the best-known of this group is Matt Bonner, who espoused such love for the city and the TTC that he was nicknamed “The Red Rocket.” Sure, one might think it was because of his shock of red hair, but we know the truth. It’s the Toronto subway.
Ex-Raptors coach Dwayne Casey also took the TTC to games.
For those travelling on the subway, keep an eye out for William Nylander during your commute on game days—you might just spot the Maple Leafs’ star forward blending in with the crowd.