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Tavares Makes His Islanders Debut

by Rich Arleo / New York Islanders

The fact that John Tavares’ Islanders jersey was powder blue—and had no number on the back—mattered little. The fact was, as Prospect Mini-Camp opened up on Friday at Islanders Iceworks, all of the buildup was over, and Tavares was finally wearing an Islanders jersey.

Tavares skated in Group 1 with fellow 2009 draft picks Calvin de Haan, Casey Cizikas, Anders Lee and goaltender Mikko Koskinen.

“This camp is part of the building blocks for a lot of the players and prospects that will be in the system and be with the club for a long time,” Tavares said. “So we form relationships and friendships and share stories and memories of playing when you were young…these things are definitely important.”

While the camp is an opportunity for many young players to show their skills and learn the system, the focus was on Tavares—as five TV cameras followed his short walk from the locker room to the ice. However, Tavares stressed that he’s no more important than anyone else.

 “It’s a team game and those guys mean as much as I do,” Tavares said. “I’m a humble guy. I don’t want to be treated differently than anybody else. I have to earn everything like everybody else, so I just want to come and be a hard-working guy.”

Tavares stressed that Mini-Camp is a great opportunity to work with Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon and the coaching staff. And with Day 1 in the books, Tavares has taken the first step as a member of the Islanders

“It’s exciting to have this opportunity to be selected first overall and be going to a great organization with a lot of tradition like New York,” Tavares said. “It’s been a fun time for myself and everyone involved. I haven’t played my first game yet, [but] it’s nice to get my first practice out of the way today.”

CLICK HERE to watch Tavares meet with the media after Day 1.

CLICK HERE to read the 2009 Mini-Camp Notebook
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