Some current NHLers are getting another chance to lace up their skates at the Tribute Communities Centre – the name of their home arena (then called the GM Centre), when they played for the Oshawa Generals.
Current New York Islanders and Generals’ alumni, John Tavares, Cal Clutterbuck and Calvin de Haan will get the chance when they play host to the Buffalo Sabres in a pre-season NHL game on September 28, 2018.
John Tavares will be back on the ice in the town that led him to becoming the current Islanders’ captain. Tavares would be a lock to play in the game should he decide to stay in New York as he is set to become a free agent on July 1st (de Haan is also set to become a free agent).
“I think JT having a retired jersey here and being a hometown favourite was obviously a major factor for everybody involved,” said Rocco Tullio, president of the Generals.
After tallying 383 points in a Generals’ uniform over four years, it will be Tavares’ first time stepping back on the ice at the TCC since the Generals traded him to London in his final season. Nine years later, with his name and number in the rafters, it could be the final time he will play in Oshawa. Tavares all-time ranks with the Generals’ prove why he was taken first overall by the Islanders in 2009 as he sits first in goals, second in points and fourth in assists.
Clutterbuck played with the Generals’ from 2004-2007 and was known for scoring and physicality as he posted two 35-plus goal seasons and two 130-plus penalty minute seasons. He was drafted in the third-round by the Minnesota Wild in 2006 before being traded to the Islanders in 2013.
de Haan played with the Generals from 2008-2011 where he was a force on the back end. This led to de Haan being a first-round, 12th overall selection to the Islanders in 2009, where he has spent his entire NHL career.
“It’s important to them because this was the start of their careers. But what’s really important is those young people who watch them on Saturday nights,” said Mayor John Henry. “It’s the image of what these hockey players do in their communities.”
More recent Generals graduates like Michael Dal Colle and Mitchell Vande Sompel will also try to crack the lineup as they currently suit up for the Islanders’ farm team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
With the game happening late in the preseason, the game is likely to feature key players from both sides and especially former Generals.