Today marked the end of an era, the end to a legendary career. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, John Tavares, the 24-year NLL veteran who holds every major all-time offensive record, has announced his retirement from professional lacrosse. Tavares has spent his entire career with the Buffalo Bandits, where he played in 306 games, amassing 815 goals while adding 934 assists for a total of an astounding 1,749 points.
The team announced this during a press conference earlier today held inside the First Niagara Center Pavillion. Present was just about every local media outlet in Buffalo and surrounding areas. The Bandits announced late Tuesday night that fans were also allowed to attend, and a few dozen orange & black diehards were on hand to witness this major announcement.
At the conference table was Head Coach Troy Cordingley, President of Lacrosse Operations Scott Loffler, and of course John Tavares. Also in attendance (but did not speak) were Bandits players Dave Brock and Dhane Smith.
“It’s been a great ride, 24 years at the best place to play in the National Lacrosse League” said the NLL all-time points leader John Tavares. “The game of lacrosse has been my blood since I was four years old, it’s definitley hard for me to let go… But everything must come to end” remarked Tavares, who was clearly emotional about hanging up the stick for the last time.
Tavares said that he felt he could still play skill wise, however age has caught up to him and his body is telling him no. Tavares thanked all of his supporters, whether they be fans, teammates, coaches, or most importantly, his wife and children. “If it wasn’t for my wife Katrina, I probably would have retired a lot sooner” said Tavares of his wife, who was also present at the press conference.
But fear not, the legendary JT will not stray far away from the Buffalo Bandits. Troy Cordingley announced shortly after JT finished his opening remarks that Tavares has been added to the coaching staff as the offensive coach.
“It’s time to start a new chapter, and I’m excited to be able to help the team in a different way as an assistant coach” said Tavares. Tavares went on to explain that his coaching philosophy will be a strategy that promotes teamwork, player chemistry, and overall distribution of the ball while in the offensive zone. Tavares will not stand for selfish acts committed by his offensemen while out on the floor.
And so ends the era of player John Tavares, yet starts a new legacy of its own, as coach John Tavares.