2009 NHL Draft: Interview with John Tavares

The Official NHL Press Release for John Tavares

Q. Did you not know until you heard your name picked, and what was your reaction when you did?
JOHN TAVARES: Yeah, I had no idea. You know, I was just like everybody else, wondering what the decision would be.
But you know, it was obviously a great moment for me and a special feeling, and just all the hard work and things I've gone through in my life and all of the support I've had from my family is just a great moment for everybody to be sharing it with, with my family and my parents and my sister;
So I couldn't be more happy right now and excited about my opportunity to play for Long Island and the Islanders.

Q. You said you wanted to be an Islander; why?
JOHN TAVARES: You know, it's just, you have the opportunity there to start with a young core of guys and grow into the future. You see how many teams have gone it before and you can see where it's headed with the draft picks.
There's a great tradition there to bring the winning tradition back to Long Island. That's what my goal is and I want to be successful at the highest level. I can't wait to get started and it's a great opportunity for me. This is really a humbling moment and it's really special for myself.

Q. What were the past two months of secrecy like for you at a time where you could have expected them to come right out and say it in the beginning?
JOHN TAVARES: I thought, obviously you want to know and you're anxious and especially myself, it's been talked about for a long time. You can understand why Garth and the approach of the organization was, because it's a big decision for them. It's a big opportunity for the community and the organization.
So just for myself, obviously excited about it, and even if it didn't work out, would I still have a great opportunity somewhere else but I'm glad I'm here now and I know I have a great opportunity in Long Island to contribute and grow with a young core of players and bring the success back that Long Island deserves.

Q. Did you notice on the video board the scene at the Nassau coliseum when your name was called, and how does that make you feel knowing that you're going to-market that really wanted you there?
JOHN TAVARES: I didn't see it but I heard things and obviously they are really interested in having me and definitely have the support of the fans and the community, that's huge. I'm very thankful to be going there and I appreciate the opportunity to be part of Long Island. It's going to be great and I can't wait to get things going knowing where it's head. It's going to be a great future for all of us.

Q. Are you flying to Long Island tonight?
JOHN TAVARES: No.

Q. What went through your mind --
JOHN TAVARES: It's a special moment. It's been talked about and I've been in the spotlight for a long time and I understand it's only going to get even bigger. Leaving home at 14 years old away from my family, I knew this is what I really wanted. And to achieve this is a special honor and great accomplishment for myself. But it's only one day is one step in where I want to be to bring the success back to Long Island. That's what it's all about. I have a got a big summer head of me here and hopefully a big year and make the club and make a big impact.

Q. What do you feel like you can accomplish as a rookie in the NHL? What type of role do you think you can play for this team as a rookie?
JOHN TAVARES: Well, I think, you know, my best assets are obviously being able to produce offensively.
So that's something I obviously want to be able to do, but you know, I've said before I wanted to become a complete player, a guy that can be relied on all over the ice and a leader off the ice.
I'm looking to learn and take strides in all areas next year. I really don't want to put limits on certain things or goals I want to reach. I just want to be productive every single night and contribute as much as I can.

Q. Have you had a chance to talk to coach Scott Gordon get?
JOHN TAVARES: No, I haven't. Those are things I still have to earn and being a young kid, there's a lot of good players in Long Island and a lot of guys that have proven themselves already. I know there's a lot of hard work for me to go in there with a good attitude and know that nothing is given to me. I have to work for my opportunity and know that I have to show my best stuff to earn those rights. And first off, I want to make the hockey team instead of worrying about the power play.

Q. You seem to be embracing the challenge of what it means to be first overall and going to a team that's struggled recently. Is that part of your personality?
JOHN TAVARES: Yeah, I think I'm a guy who understands being in the spotlight, what it's all about, and how to handle all the expectations.
I know it's only going to get greater. Like I said, it's an exciting time for everybody in Long Island's and where the team is going in the future, and so for me to be a part of that process, and obviously your goal is to bring success to where you're going to play. And I've got a great passion and heart for the game and very determined and focused on where I want to be and what I want to be able to do.

Q. The Islanders are a team that have trouble filling the building and marketing the team. What do you expect to do in that way as far as helping them bring the fans back?
JOHN TAVARES: Well, obviously I think the main thing is you've got to win. That's the biggest thing to attract attention is to bring a winning product on the ice and obviously that's the first step is getting a club that can compete for a playoff spot and make the playoffs.
Obviously you want to be involved with the community and the fans and interact with them very well and let them get to know you as a hockey player, so definitely want to be involved in all aspects.

Q. Does part of you feel vindicated as the draft approached that some pundits had knocked you down in the rankings out of the first place ranking?
JOHN TAVARES: There's a lot of great hockey players out there especially this year, with a guy like Victor, a rare combination of what he brings to the table, and a guy like Matt who has a great future, and Brayden Schenn and Evander Kane and so on. There's a lot of good hockey players out there. You can understand why these guys have the opportunity of where they are going and what's ahead of them.
Obviously you are anxious and you want to compete and you're a competitor and you want to be the best, and you love to go No. 1. So not at all. I understood that it was not going to be an easy four years and it was not going to be easy to get here.
I'm just excited to be here now and be part of the Islanders.

Q. Are there guys on the Islanders you're familiar with, are you friends with any of the younger guys on their team?
JOHN TAVARES: I think the only guy I know really -- have a little bit of a relationship with is Josh Bailey. We played the Under 17 program together for Team Ontario and played on the line actually last summer at the world junior camp. We have a little bit of familiarity growing up playing against each other. All I can recall is also playing against Kyle Okposo at the World Juniors, I think it was '08.

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