Bobby Hull and Eric Lindros. Not bad company eh? John Tavares will join those two legends in the rafters of General Motors Centre when his jersey is retired by the Oshawa Generals on September 28th. JT will become the youngest player to have his jersey retired in Generals history. Tavares made history when he joined the Generals at the ripe age of 15 because he was granted “exceptional player” status. This is now referred to as the “John Tavares rule.”
Upon being accepted into the OHL, Tavares took the league by storm. In his first season as a General,the former number one overall pick put up 77 points in 65 games. Number 91 never looked back, impacting the Generals and the city of Oshawa in a big way. The next season, Tavares absolutely lit up the league, putting up 134 points in 67 games. The Isles captain finished his career in Oshawa with 383 points in 223 games.
Generals Owner Rocco Tullio discussed retiring JT’s number today: “On behalf of ownership, we are extremely excited and proud to honour John with the highest honor in hockey by retiring his jersey in Oshawa. John is a special player on the ice and always a gentleman off the ice, conducting himself in a first class manner and representing the Oshawa Generals with the utmost respect. John will become the youngest player in OHL history to have his jersey number retired. John has remained a close friend over the years and as an owner and friend, I couldn’t be happier for John and our organization.”
JT etched his name in the Generals history books forever, finishing his career as the all time goal scoring leader in Oshawa’s history and second in points. Tavares would’ve most likely been Oshawa’s all time points leader had he not been traded to the London Knights at the OHL’s trade deadline in early 2009. The trade sent Tavares, Michael del Zotto, and goaltender Daryl Borden to the London Knights for forward Christian Thomas, defenseman Scott Valentine, goaltender Michael Zador and six of London’s draft picks. In his 24 games as a London Knight, Tavares recorded 50 points.
Tavares was blown away by the gesture from hid former junior hockey team: “I am honoured by this gesture from the Oshawa Generals to retire my number. I am extremely grateful that my name will hang alongside Red Tilson, Bobby Orr, and Eric Lindros, men who were not only incredible ambassadors for the Generals and the Oshawa community, but for the sport of hockey. I have lifelong memories from my three and a half years in Oshawa and owe a lot of my success to their tremendous support. I look forward to returning to the General Motors Centre and celebrating the home opener of the franchise’s 78th season with the best fans in junior hockey.”
Tavares still maintains his influence in Oshawa through “JT’s Junior Generals.” With this program, a minor hockey team is selected to go to every Generals regular season game. Players receive tickets, a t-shirt and a special gift from John Tavares himself. This is just one of many ways that Tavares gives back to the team and the city that gave him the opportunity to play junior hockey and jump start his impressive career.