In case you missed the news earlier this evening, the Toronto Maple Leafs # Leafs name John Tavares as team’s 25th captain in team history (which includes the Toronto St. Pat’s and the Toronto Arenas) and the first captain the team has had since Dion Phaneuf in 2015-16.
“You just don’t take something like that for granted,” Tavares said last month when discussing the possibility of becoming the team’s next captain. “There’s only so many in the league, and certainly for a franchise here like the Maple Leafs with its history and tradition, I don’t want to look at things differently just because you’re given a responsibility. You’re given that responsibility because of who you are and the way you’ve carried yourself to that point.”
Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas, head coach Mike Babcock and president Brendan Shanahan made the announcement to Tavares by way of Tavares’ newborn son Jace. Check out this adorable video of Dubas, Babcock, Shanahan making the announcement via young Jace:
How sweet is that!?!?
Tavares, of course, was captain of the New York Islanders before signing with his hometown Leafs during the 2018 offseason. At 28 years old, Tavares is the oldest and most experienced of the Leafs’ core roster and knows what it takes to be a captain in the NHL.
“You don’t let something like that change you. You want to be yourself, go out and play your game, do what you do. I know we’re gonna have a great one, whoever it is. I’ll support whoever it is.”
Head coach Mike Babcock obviously weighed in heavily on who he felt should be the captain and judging by statements he made just earlier today, the choice of Tavares was obvious to him.
“We went through a process that has been going on for a long time,” Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said. “We didn’t name a captain for a long time because we didn’t think it was obvious. And then when we knew it was obvious . . . in the end, we made the right decision for the Leafs.”
Alright, Leafs fans. You can now officially go ahead and get that prized “C” stitched onto your Tavares jerseys.