The Toronto Maple Leafs captain traveled to Barrie on Thursday to talk about his charity, the upcoming Barn Burner charity game and, of course, the ongoing quest for the Stanley Cup.
John Tavares and his wife, Aryne, met with local Rotary Club members and guests at the Southshore Center this afternoon to discuss the John Tavares Foundation and its core values that encourage young people to eat healthy, be active and to practice mindfulness.
During the lunch, which included about 100 people, Tavares accepted a check for $10,000 from Barn Burner organizer Alex Nuttall, while Rotary Club of Barrie president Chuck Boldt announced that six Ukrainian children sent to the camp by Rotary would be in the name of the Tavares.
Tavares is among several top players who will be taking part in the Boots and Hearts Barn Burner hockey charity event on Wednesday, August 3 at Sadlon Arena. He said he was happy to be involved for many reasons.
“My wife and I have been to Boots and Hearts several times. Her side of the family especially loves her,” he said of the local country music festival.
“It’s great to see how they want to give back to the community and all they do for the area. I spend a lot of my off season in the Simcoe-Muskoka County area, so that seemed like a fit. perfect.”
The charity hockey game raises funds for a number of local causes, including this year’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU.
Tavares said he was happy to have his foundation join the Barn Burner event for the day, “so that we can help each other and do great things for the community, (and) bring the community together.
“What matters a lot to us is bringing people together, giving back and doing a lot of good,” he added.
The John Tavares Foundation has helped several organizations including Special Olympics Canada, Halton Food for Thought and Rexdale Youth Mentorship.
Joining Tavares at the Boots and Hearts game Barn Burner will be local resident and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mike Gartner, free agent Sam Gagner, former power forward Gary Roberts, Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin and many others.
But how do you prepare for a game like this?
“The intensity at the start is a little lighter, a little more fun, but I think you want to be ready for the third period because things always seem to get better as the game goes on,” said Tavares.
How about bringing a Stanley Cup back to Toronto?
“I think we have a very good team and you never know,” Tavares said. “As far as a parade goes, I think I’ll leave the planning to the fans and others. — we’re just going to focus on the season.
As for the Boots and Hearts Barn Burner game, doors open at 5:30 p.m., with a puck drop to follow at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available at the link here.