The Oshawa Generals made some big news today when they announced that they will be retiring the jersey number of standout forward John Tavares. Tavares wore the number 91 and in September he will see that number on a banner containing his name hanging from the rafters.
Retiring a jersey number is one of the highest honours in hockey and is reserved for only the best of the best, which is what makes this honour so special for Tavares. Just 3 other banners hang from the rafters of General Motors Centre in Oshawa; Bobby Orr, Eric Lindros and Red Tilson.
“To be up there with the three other guys that are there… it’s hard to really believe it. I really appreciate that people believe that I am a part of such a great history like that.” ~ John Tavares
When you think of junior hockey in Canada there are often two big names that come to mind, Jordan Eberle and John Tavares. Tavares became the face of junior hockey for his stellar play with team Canada, but many don’t know of his incredible play with the Oshawa Generals in the OHL.
This is a well deserved honour for John Tavares who was granted exceptional status into the OHL, allowing him to play as a 15 year-old. The rule is now dubbed the “John Tavares” rule and many young players have benefited because of him.
The young Tavares took the league by storm and made history while wearing the Generals Jersey. He became the team’s all-time leading goal scorer and finished second on the all-time point lead. In fact, if he hadn’t been traded to the London Knights, he likely would have finished first in the all-time point ranking as well.
His rookie season as a 15 year-old saw him record 77 points, including 45 goals en route to winning both the CHL Rookie of the year award and Emms Family Award as the best rookie/first year player in the OHL and CHL. He proved he could play during his rookie season recording 10 points after just 9 games.
He followed his rookie season with a Red Tilson Trophy and a CHL play of the year award for his outstanding performance with the Generals after recording 134 points.
His junior career was one to be admired. He performed on the ice and handled the scrutiny of the media and a tough OHL playing schedule with world-class. When he was named to team Canada for the World Juniors he showed up and led the team to back-to-back gold medals, including a 15 point tournament in his last year.
John Tavares is the epitome of class and junior hockey and there are few players that deserve to have their number retired more than him. Throughout his time in the OHL he recorded an incredible 383 points in 223 games.