The Letter John Tavares Should Have Written To His Younger Self

New York Islander Fan Central | 6/24/2018 07:49:00 AM |
Warning **** I know this is not going to go over well at all ****

Sorry, but someone had to write it. Will Tavares think along my lines? Doubtful, but some of it likely crosses his mind, even if his loyalty to this franchise makes him regret resigning sooner or later. 

I don't think it's a money issue or who the management was or is. I want him to re-sign now that we have a new coach, who can help his speed/defense.

But there is more to it, it's not my choice, but this is what I would be thinking if I were him. 

John Tavares Letter To His Younger Self..... 

Here I am, nine years later.

Vegas sold every seat, Seattle got 20,000 seats sold in two hours, Winnipeg came back and sold out five years worth of tickets. I see this all over the NHL.

All I keep hearing/reading is those same 4,000 fans from Long Island talking about the team coming home.

We had an open house in April & six people showed up. 

I gave them nothing but loyalty, they gave us half empty buildings, that's their idea of home.

How is that home?

Home is a place with 18,000 fans who care, who show up and sellout every game, who will spend their money, who do what most fan bases do who really do believe.

Long Island fans refused to spend, and never will, nothing I did changed that.

I don't want to be under-rated when my career ends, or hear people say if I played in Toronto or anywhere else, I'll be relevant, my career will be remembered, those people will be behind me for the rest of my life.

I played in a building half filled through 2015 which looked like half that, and endured thousands of opposing fans, even Quebec fans, it was a nightmare but I was loyal to a fault.

Then the few media we have all worked for the Rangers newspaper, did all they could to wreck playing in NYC, while those Long Island fans did what they do best, complain & stay home.

We had home ice for the opener, and the playoffs, that's when they cared or at least most of the seats were announced as filled, that was great.

We kept talking about the atmosphere, and energy in the building for rivalry games, but it took half the crowd from the other team coming here to make that happen, most of our fans did not want to go to those games. 

Beyond that no matter what we did those fans stayed home, no matter how many back-loaded deals Charles & Garth got us to sign, or how low the ticket prices were, no one backed us, we all kept buying in to the plan, the fans refused. 

They kept claiming they believed, but they made every excuse not to after the home opener, and we walked out to AHL crowds? I did not understand, on weeknights our building was filled with Montreal Canadians fans, even in snow storms.

Nassau treated me and our team like we did not exist. I could not change that, not even a dynasty did, teams that never won a thing got modern buildings from taxpayers, and go sellout hundreds of games in a row.

We could not give our tickets away, they made us feel like we were still Spano's team, management even made us wear those fisherman jersey's, and some of those new fans actually like them.

I said all the right things, it did not matter. Lou and Barry will too, they still won't show up and support us, and they'll be gone before me unless I get hurt playing in two rinks before we move into a building owned by the Rangers as our landlord which will be a construction zone long after I retire.

No one would sign up for that. In 2009 my agent Pat (Brisson) told me Long Island is one the last places I should go. He was right.

Stamkos plays in a packed house, Matthews does, McDavid does, Eichel also and most of these teams are worse than ours on the ice, and never won a thing..

All the media says is if our great players played anywhere else they would never have been overlooked, forgotten, or under-rated, that's all we read about the great guys in our room now.

They kept calling our team Long Island, not New York. No one fought that narrative, it was a badge of honor for people who could not fill 5,000 seats with the rest coming from NY.  I played along, and those people stayed home, we had a real chance if we won in New York City to be relevant permanently.

I should have told them it's a NYC arena, or I'm gone.

We hear our fans at Msg, in NJ, and even though there were issues with Barclay's, it was early there. The same fans who refused to go to the Coliseum, had better crowds at Barclay's, even if it was Boston Garden which fans & media supported for sixty years, and sat in an obstructed upper deck with an off center scoreboard. Those fans forced Barclay's management to just give up, they had the Coliseum, and what did not work, and won't again.

Our Nassau/Suffolk fans refused to come to games at Barclay's after they went to NJ for their football teams, same old story.

Why didn't they show up and support us? Other teams missed the playoffs longer, many never came close to a cup.

I want my career to be memorable long after I retired. Mike Bossy had to sell potato chips after all he did for those people, they even stayed home for Bill & Al, and booed Mr Torrey, no alumni is more loyal.

Denis Potvin had 5,000 people watching his jersey go the rafters, how dare them. I do not want that, no one would.

I gave those people my best years, and they thanked us by staying home no matter what we did.

Why will it be any different if I re-sign, it won't be. Money does not change this, the ticket prices under ten dollars on game day did not either. 

Now I should go home or somewhere else, even if it means taking less money.

Nothing we do will sellout a season, we can't even get 10,000 fans in October or November, and won't for most of the season unless we are winning.

It's time for my NHL career to matter,  to go where people will really believe with writers who will make us the story, and make us relevant every day win or lose, that's the right kind of pressure.

It's time for my career to have home ice, to actually be the home team in our home rink. 

Long Island was a a lie. I gave them my best years, where were they?

More excuses. 

Be-LIE-ve that.

And it hurts.