Maple Leafs player Captain John Tavares faced a chorus of boos and hateful chants as he stepped out onto the ice last night in New York to play against his old team. It was a brutal night for Tavares and the Leafs whose recent string of impressive victories came to a crashing halt when the Islanders beat them 6-1.
Despite facing a whole stadium full of haters, Tavares remained calm and collected throughout the game, doing his best to bring his new team together while facing off against his old one. Islanders fans berated the captain with chants of “We don’t need you!” some fans even threw toy snakes onto the ice and pelted the player with his old jersey, which was branded with the word traitor, as he walked off the ice.
Fans even booed Tavares during a video tribute to him which played halfway through the first period. However, despite the fans vicious attempts to get inside his head, Tavares was as pure as sportsmanship gets when he was questioned about what he would’ve told the hostile fans if he had the chance.
The Islanders fans welcomed John Tavares back by throwing plastic snakes and a jersey at him 😬 pic.twitter.com/8mUWCbHWv1
“…I can only control what I can control. I just tried to be open and honest with my decision. So, at the end of the day, it is what it is. I'll just go out there and play hockey and try to help the Maple Leafs," explained John Tavares according to CTV.
The game may not have been a glorious one for the Maple Leaf’s or Tavares, but it is nevertheless heartwarming to see the player come up against such palpable opposition and take it like a champ. Sometimes in life, you just have to roll with the punches and Tavares did just that last night.