Buffalo Bandits forward John Tavares today announced his retirement from the NLL after a 24-year career. He will transition to a new role as an assistant coach for the 2016 season. Click here to watch the official press conference.
“I’ve been fortunate to play my entire career in Buffalo in front of the best fans in the league, so it makes this day bittersweet,” Tavares said. “Playing for the Bandits has been such a big part of my life, but all good things must come to an end. It’s time to start a new chapter, and I’m excited to be able to help the team in a different way as assistant coach.”
Tavares concludes his playing career as the NLL’s all-time leader in games played (306), goals (815), assists (934) and points (1,749), as well as second in league history in loose ball recoveries (2,169). He played in a league-record 10 NLL All-Star games and was named to the NLL All-Pro team a record 19 times, while winning the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 1994, 2000 and 2001.
“It has been a privilege to watch John Tavares play in the NLL,” said NLL Commissioner George Daniel. “Beyond all of the records, championships and accolades, John has been a tremendous ambassador for the game. He gave everything he had out on the field each and every night. We shall never see his like again.”
In addition to his league accolades, Tavares is the Bandits’ franchise leader in every major offensive category. He has appeared in 93 percent of all Bandits regular-season games and scored or assisted on 39 percent of Buffalo’s regular-season goals. His 115 points (51+64) in 2001 still stand as the franchise’s single-season record.
The Mississauga, Ontario native served as an alternate captain for the Bandits for 18 seasons before being named captain in prior to the 2013 season. He led the team in scoring in 17 of his 24 seasons with the franchise, including 10 consecutive seasons from 1999 to 2008.
Tavares was a part of four Bandits championship teams (1992, 1993, 1996 and 2008), and tops the NLL’s all-time playoff list in games played (38), goals (84), assists (116) and points (200).