John Tavares is the new captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the team's management made sure it was a moment he'd never forget — as both a player and a father.
In Toronto, few things are more important than their hockey team, the Maple Leafs. With discussion in the city buzzing about who would be the team's 25th captain, John Tavares was called into an office alongside General Manager Kyle Dubas, Team President Brandon Shannahan, and Head Coach Mike Babcock. While normal circumstances may cause one to believe this would be "the moment", he was only told they would be talking about "logistical things," yet, when he opened the door to the room, he saw something that would bring a tear to any dad's eye — his wife, Aryne Fuller, holding his newborn son wearing a baby-sized jersey with his name on the back and "C", signifying captain, on the front.
"This is a hell of a surprise," Tavares says in a video posted on the official Toronto Maple Leafs' Twitter. "It's a real honor. I won't ever take it for granted."
While the 2019-2020 NHL season just started, it's already proven to be the biggest of his career. Not only is he the new captain of one of the most historic franchises in the NHL, but he became a dad the night before preseason started. On Sept. 12, 2019, the 29-year-old became a first-time father to his son Jayce. He didn't have much time to let the moment sink in, however, as he rejoined his team in Newfoundland, Canada for a series of games before jumping into the regular season on Oct. 2, 2019.
While Tavares is a professional ice hockey player, he's stated he'll support whatever interest Jayce wants to pursue, but he may be nudging him in the direction of lacrosse. The new Leafs captain admitted in an interview just after the birth of his son that there's a lacrosse stick hung in his room.
Sometimes in sports, fans can get caught up in the excitement of a team, so it's easy to forget that there's a human element to the game. For Tavares, seeing his newborn in a newly minted captain jersey for the team he grew up cheering for — with his name on the back, no less — must have been a dream come true.