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Tavares to have number retired in Oshawa

Islanders captain John Tavares will have his number, 91, retired by his junior club, the Oshawa Generals.

Friday, 08.01.2014 / 11:00 AM / News
By Cory Wright
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Tavares to have number retired in Oshawa
Islanders captain John Tavares will have his number, 91, retired by his junior club, the Oshawa Generals.

Retiring a sweater number is one of hockey’s highest honors, reserved for the best of the best and for players who impacted a city both on-and-off the ice.

Three banners hang from the rafters of General Motors Centre in Oshawa, Ontario; one belongs to eight-time Norris winner and two-time scoring champion Bobby Orr, another to 1995 MVP Eric Lindros and a third to Red Tilson, who lends his name to the trophy for the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player. Orr’s (junior) number two, Lindros’ 88 and Tilson’s nine will never be worn by another Oshawa General.

On Sept. 28, a fourth banner will be raised, this one inscribed with the number “91.” Islanders captain John Tavares will be honored in a pregame ceremony, as his number is officially retired by his junior club.

“To be up there with the three other guys that are there… it’s hard to really believe it,” Tavares said. “It’s something I’ll be pinching myself about for a long time. I really appreciate that people believe that I am a part of such a great history like that.”

Tavares was humbled by the honor, but it’s well-deserved. The Islanders captain was granted “exceptional player” status (now nicknamed the “John Tavares rule”) allowing him to play for the Generals as a 15-year-old. The young Tavares took the league by storm, scoring 383 points (183G, 200A) in 223 games with the Generals.

Tavares made history while wearing the Generals crest, becoming the team’s all-time leading goal scorer and finishing second on the all-time points list. Had Tavares not been traded to the London Knights in his final season with the team – where he scored 50 points in 24 games for the Knights – he likely would have also claimed the all-time points lead.

“John was one of the greatest junior players to ever play the game, not only for Oshawa, but in the Canadian Hockey League,” said Oshawa Generals Owner, Rocco Tullio. “He’s represented the organization and the CHL extremely well on and off the ice. People in Oshawa have always respected John and his family because he’s always worked extremely hard.”

At 15, Tavares was the youngest player in the league and had to deal with added media scrutiny in addition to the prerequisite chaos of uprooting oneself from home and playing a demanding OHL schedule. It started a path that led him to being an Islander and set him up for his future success, but those were also formative years for Tavares as a person.

“My time in Oshawa really changed my life,” he said. “There’s a saying on the wall in the locker room, ‘Once a General, Always a General,’ and it really stays true especially with how much time I spent there, what the city meant to me and all of the people that impacted my life. I’ll be forever grateful for what that place has done for me and it certainly became home and is home to me.”

Tavares still attends charity events and keeps in touch with former coaches, his billet family and other members of the Generals organization. When he was traded from the Generals in 2009, he told the Canadian Press that his heart would always be in Oshawa.

His heart and, now, his sweater too.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 46 21 24 -2 45
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 46 8 25 16 33
B. Nelson 46 15 15 6 30
F. Nielsen 46 9 16 4 25
J. Boychuk 36 4 18 15 22
J. Bailey 34 8 13 8 21
N. Leddy 46 7 14 15 21
N. Kulemin 46 11 9 1 20
A. Lee 40 13 5 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 25 9 0 .910 2.41
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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