John Tavares could have been anywhere in the world on Wednesday, but he was at Northwell Health Ice Center to see his teammates.
Not Cal Clutterbuck, Johnny Boychuk or the New York Islanders, but three kids from his Tavares' Teammates program, whom he was unable to meet after getting injured at the end of the season.
"It's just great to see their smile on their face and just their excitement and their support for the Islanders," Tavares said. "It's great to meet them and show them the locker room a little bit and get to know them. It's something I enjoy."
"Unfortunately because of the injury, I had to push it back, so I just wish I could have got to meet them sooner," Tavares said.
The program reserves seats at games for children who have gone through a tough time, a VIP night out to enjoy an Islanders game, high-five the team and get a personal meet-and-greet with Tavares. Kids like Jackson Amiruddin, an eight-year-old kid who's nearly five years off of treatment for Leukemia, who was wide-eyed and all smiles when he met Tavares.
"Jackson's been through a lot when he was younger, any time he's happy, anything that makes him happy makes me happy," said his grandfather, Martin Solow.
For Solow, the fact that Tavares carved out time in his offseason to make up a meeting for his grandson, spoke volumes about the Islanders' captain.
"His greatness hasn't gone to his head, he gives back to the community which is great," Solow said. "He's a great guy."