Approximately 450 people gathered together starting at 8 a.m. Monday morning, waiting in line to meet John Tavares
. The parking lot was jam packed and lines were wrapped around the outside of the store.
After Tavares arrived at Modell’s he said, “ I saw the line briefly, looks pretty long, I’m sure we will fill the hour and half pretty quickly.”
Modell’s was packed with fans eager to meet the league’s newest upcoming star, “ It’s exciting, they cheer for me, and I know they are excited to see me here, so I’m happy to have their support.” Tavares said. “Its easy to want to give back to all our fans because they come watch us play every chance they get and we can all hear them when they get going.”
Fans from all ages were waiting in line, from infants in their car seats to grandparents getting an autograph for their grandkids. If you walked down the line of Islander fans, they had anything from a piece of paper to pucks, jerseys, hats, sticks, photos, to Newsday front covers.
The first initial 150 people in line received a bracelet, which guaranteed them to meet Tavares. The others waited patiently in a line that stretched around the store and outside. Within the first forty-five minutes of the signing Tavares signed about 200 autographs with forty-five minutes remaining for the remainder of fans to get their chance.
Hailey Clemens and her father Artie were a part of the first bunch of fans that got to meet Tavares. She had on a Team Canada Tavares jersey, and said, “my brother has the red and white one and let me wear this one today.”
“We are huge hockey fans, we went to the draft party and had a great time. Ever since the Islanders entered the league, following this team is really something great to be a part of.”
A teenage Islanders fan who arrived at 6 p.m. wound up standing outside but explained that it was all worth it to get Tavares’ autograph.
“I’ve been here a while and I can’t even feel my toes right now. I came right from school and actually had to leave early from my sporting event. I told my coach I had to go get a John Tavares
Overseeing the Modell’s signing was regional marketing manager, Bobby Jackson. In order for this event to take place, Jackson with the help of the employees at the East Meadow Modell’s, started preparing weeks in advance. On Monday at 9 a.m., Jackson was there, making sure that the store was prepared, the area for the signing had a nice back drop, pens were available, cold water was on the table and the appropriate merchandise for Tavares to sign was displayed throughout the store.
Tavares has realized so far that, “Being in the NHL, is a special experience that not many people get to go through,” Tavares said. “I’m playing a pro sport with a bunch of great teammates in New York so I’m just trying to enjoy every step of the way.”
At 7:30 after the last fan walked up to the table to meet Tavares, you could hear a pin drop in Modell’s. Everyone went home happy and smiling, knowing that they met this past summer’s number one pick from the NHL Entry Draft, John Tavares
. As several young fans exited the store, they whispered to their parents, “It was awesome!”