VIDEO: Tavares Booed in Long Island Return
John Tavares knew he would get a hostile reception from New York Islanders fans in his first visit as a visiting player since the former captain left to sign with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs as a NHL free agent last summer.
Islanders fans, vocal on social media about their displeasure with Taveras' departure after he repeatedly said he wanted to stay, booed loudly when Tavares and the Maple Leafs hit the ice for pregame warmups, and when they came back out for the start of each period.
`It was probably the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life,'' he said. ``Obviously, it took me some time to do it because of how difficult it was and really not sure what I wanted to do until I made the decision.''
They also serenaded him with choruses of ``We Don't Need You!'' and other chants throughout the game, including during a video tribute midway through the first period.
The face of the franchise for nine years after he was selected No. 1 overall by New York in 2009, Tavares insisted he agonized over his decision to leave before announcing it on July 1, the first day of NHL free agency.
See the reaction to last night's game from John Tavares in the video below, courtesy of TSN.