Tavares leads Isles into Brooklyn
Newly named Captain to skate at Barclays on Thursday
The soon-to-be Brooklyn Islanders will be at the Barclays Center on Thursday for a training camp workout at the state-of-the-art arena, which will play host to our borough’s first NHL game on Sept. 21, when the Isles host the New Jersey Devils for an exhibition contest.
And leading the Isles on to the ice for their first skate in their future full-time home will be newly minted captain John Tavares.
The 22-year-old Hart Trophy finalist was named New York’s 14th captain on Monday.
“It’s obviously one heck of an honor to be named captain of the New York Islanders, to have the respect of your teammates, the organization, our great fans and everyone involved with the club,” Tavares said on the team’s website. “There have been so many great past captains and obviously the last two (Doug Weight and Mark Streit) have meant a lot to me.
“Hopefully I can carry the team in a way they did and learn from the great friendships that I have with them.”
General manager Garth Snow, who will also be in Brooklyn for Thursday’s workout, decided it was time for Tavares to assume a bigger leadership role on a team that qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2007 this past season before bowing out in six tough games to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“He’s a top player in the league, but he has a grinder’s mentality when it comes to work ethic and practicing the right way,” Snow said. “He’s a great leader and deserves to be the 14th captain in Islanders history.”
The Islanders are scheduled to begin their first full season Downtown in 2015-16. But there are already rumors that they might arrive in Brooklyn in time for the 2014-15 campaign, if, of course, the Barclays can complete renovations to expand its seating capacity for hockey by then.
Tavares, signed until at least the 2017-18 campaign, figures to be the face of the franchise for many years to come.
Brooklynite’s will doubtlessly gobble up his No. 91 jersey once the team arrives here.
Only now, it will have a “C” emblazoned above the team’s logo.
“I don’t think being named captain is going to change a whole lot, but it’s a great honor,” Tavares said. “We certainly have the opportunity to build on last season’s strong performance. It’s up to us to prove ourselves and it’s not going to get any easier for us this year. What we’ve accomplished so far doesn’t mean anything unless we can take advantage of what’s ahead of us.”
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