It looks like the Toronto Maple Leaf’s star centre, John Tavares, won’t be making up with his old Islander fans anytime soon. John Tavares got an earful last night during the Leafs game against the Islanders from an emotional New York fan, who unleashed a flurry of insults at him. The fan, who happened to be seated right near the Leafs' bench, used it as an opportunity to go off on Tavares, who was sitting out at the time.
In the video, the Islanders fan is seen sitting next to Tavares, separated only by glass, as he explodes at the player. “Hey, John you’re a traitor, a liar, a snake, a fake!” The fuming fan shouts at the player. Tavares turns for a few seconds to look at the enraged fan before shifting his focus back to the game. “You should’ve told us! We would’ve got picks for you!” The fan then continues, while appearing to almost be reduced to tears by the outburst.
The disgruntled fan’s verbal attack on the player seemed like less of a criticism about the player’s controversial departure from the Islanders and more like a grown man having a sport-related temper-tantrum.
“You wouldn’t say it to his face”— hockeyfights (@hockeyfights) April 2, 2019
Not true for this #Islanders fan.
Will this be in a new #DearJohn video? Or will there be another #ThankYouTavares day in Toronto tomorrow? 🤣
Video: t/KeithLavitt pic.twitter.com/MEWiUn0JMT
He doesn’t have to tell you shit. It’s his life and his career. Do you go tell him when you switch jobs? Didn’t think so. Bunch of low life’s. Grow up.— Claudio S (@chaos1919) April 2, 2019
That guy needs to get over it.— Paul Mannerberg (@pmann84) April 2, 2019
Yeah there’s a guy who doesn’t understand how sports work...— Simon Mallett (@SimonYYC) April 2, 2019
This guy needs anger management! #getoverit— Dale Meier (@MapleLeafMadman) April 2, 2019
Hockey fans on Twitter seemed to share a similar opinion, as most either came to Tavares' defence or poked fun at the angry fan for having such a visceral reaction to the game.
This isn’t the first time Tavares has faced open criticism from Islanders fans; the player encountered a chorus of boos last month when the Leafs faced off against his old team. Toy snakes were thrown on the ice and hateful chants echoed through the arena during his previous visit.
Despite all the hostility, Tavares has remained a class act. The player had no choice words for the Islanders fan during a post-game interview during which the player spoke to the exciting news about the Leafs clinching a playoff spot:
"It’s great to punch your ticket. You work so hard all year to give yourself a chance and to be a part of it. Every opportunity, you want to take advantage of it. It’s great to be in it."@91Tavares on clinching a playoff spot tonight. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/B2aSTzkBXU— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 2, 2019