When John Tavares
was selected first overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Islanders fans went crazy. More than 10,000 people who were attending the Islanders Draft Party turned Nassau Coliseum into something resembling Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
Meanwhile, 330-plus miles away in Montreal, Tavares found himself on top of the world.
“It was just amazing,” Tavares said. “It’s such an honor to be selected first overall and I’m appreciative that I’m going to a franchise with such a great tradition. To be part of the future that Garth and the organization is building is exciting and my goal is to help bring the winning tradition back to Long Island.”
Tavares will be formally introduced at a press conference today at 12:30 pm. The press conference is at Nassau Coliseum and is open to the public. The event will also be covered on IslandersTV right here on newyorkislanders.com.
After being drafted, Tavares was humbled to hear how many people had gathered at the Coliseum, and how they reacted after hearing his name announced.
“Every time you go into a city, or a new community where you don’t know too many people, it’s always nice to be welcomed by the people you are going to be dealing with everyday and it’s going to be great to interact with them,” Tavares said about Islanders fans.
Islanders’ fans had been extremely vocal about who they were hoping the Islanders would select. And when they got their man, they simply let loose.
“You know what, I’ve said all along that I appreciate the passion our fans have,” Islanders General Manager Snow said. “I’ve been here since 2001 and I love being an Islander.”
Snow has no doubt that Tavares will fit right in on Long Island.
“He’s obviously a tremendous talent and a high character kid,” Snow said. “We identified him when we won the lottery and as we navigated through the process, it just re-affirmed that John was the right selection for us. We picked the player that we felt would fit in best with the other pieces of our puzzle. “
Now that the excitement of the Draft has turned into anticipation for the season, Tavares is ready to get his career started.
“I am excited and I can’t wait to get things going,” Tavares said. “I hope it’s going to be a great season—obviously our goal is to make the playoffs—and that’s what I’m looking forward to. I understand all of the expectations, but it’s going to be a lot of fun and I can’t wait for this journey to start.