Toronto Maple Leafs fans excited about Tavares joining the team
John Tavares holds up a jersey bearing his name in the Maple Leafs' locker room following a news conference in Toronto after signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday July 1, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Gabriele Roy, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, July 2, 2018 9:52PM EDT
Toronto Maple Leafs fans have taken to social media to express their excitement about the team's latest acquisition, John Tavares.
The Mississauga, Ont.-born player announced his decision to join Toronto's team Sunday, posting a picture of himself at a young age sleeping in Maple Leafs bedding.
“Not everyday you can live a childhood dream,” he wrote.
The tweet has been shared thousands of times, with many welcoming him to the team and back to the city, and some heralding it as “the best Canada Day gift ever.”
Prominent fans of the team, such as retired Maple Leaf Darcy Tucker and figure skater Scott Moir, also weighed in.
“Welcome home JT,” Tucker wrote on Twitter following the announcement.
“WELCOME TO THE TEAM JOHNNY T!!!!” Moir also chimed in.
Jayna Hefford, a five time Olympic medallist in hockey, says the upcoming season will be fun to watch with Tavares in the roster.
“I think it will be a really exciting time for everybody because it has been a while since we have been able to sign a player like him,” she said. “It puts the Leafs at the elite level with a lot of other teams.”
Hefford added that the Leafs now have “pretty close to, if not, the three strongest centremen in the league.”
Mike Commito, a hockey historian who holds a PhD in Canadian history from McMaster University, said he was “stunned but also extremely happy” about Tavares joining the Leafs.
“We never really had someone like that who is from Toronto come back to his city, especially at this time in his career when he is still at his prime,” he said.
“He immediately makes the team that much better,” Commito added. “There will be very few teams who will be able to compete with the Toronto Maple Leafs.”
He added the acquisition may even improve the team's chance at nabbing the Stanley Cup.
“It will be fun to watch, and I think that Leafs fan have every right to be excited for the puck to drop in October,” Commito said.
“Even if you are not a Maple Leafs fan, it's inspiring to see someone make their childhood dreams a reality because so few of us get the chance to do that.”