Photography courtesy of Gilette Image by: Photography courtesy of Gilette
John Tavares is a little quiet—shy even. But hockey makes him open up. On the ice, he's a leader, and in the locker room, his goofy side comes out. "It's not just a game. It's how we connect as Canadians," he says.
John basically grew up in the arena. He first held a stick at two-and-a-half, spent his childhood watching Hockey Night in Canada and, at 14, became the youngest player ever to be drafted into the Ontario Hockey League (where he broke a record that Wayne Gretzky set at age 16). Now, at 23, he's captain of the New York Islanders. "I never thought about doing anything other than playing hockey," he reflects.
John's Olympic dream was sparked at age 11, when he watched the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He recounts Canada's path to hockey gold as though it were the plot of his favourite movie: the tie with the Czech Republic, Gretzky's stirring speech, the moment of triumph over Team U.S.A. "You just felt like you were part of it," he says.
He hopes to repeat that success this year, to be standing on the ice with a gold medal around his neck as the anthem plays. But whether it happens or not, there will still be something special in just playing the game. "Whether you're playing as a kid or playing as an adult at the Olympics, there's just something about coming together," he says. "The memories you have bond you for life."
Gillette Canada has teamed up with John Tavares to help Canadians get their game face on in support of the Canadian men's national hockey team as they go for gold. The campaign represents how both precise preparation rituals and the right equipment are essential. The 2013 Hart Trophy Finalist knows having his game face on is absolutely crucial for success - whether on or off the ice.
Meet more of our Team Canada athletes.
|This story was originally titled "The Strong, Silent Type" in the February 2014 issue. |
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