Tavares meets bullied Islanders fan in Winnipeg

New York Islanders center John Tavares. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

New York Islanders captain John Tavares made one young fan’s New Year’s a memorable one.

Having heard that 12-year old Jake Lotocki was the target of harassment for supporting the visiting squad during an Islanders-Jets game in his hometown of Winnipeg last season, Tavares took it upon himself to say thank you to Jake for being such a great fan.

With the Islanders visiting Winnipeg on Wednesday night, Tavares met with Lotocki and his mother and presented the youngster with an autographed jersey that he can wear to future meetings between the Jets and his favourite team.

Tavares, via Islanders official site:

“Sometimes something like that [harassment] can be really disappointing and can turn you off of such a great game,” Tavares said. “I wanted to make sure he knew it didn’t go unnoticed, all his support, his love of the game, the Islanders and being a fan of mine.”

“I just wanted to get to know him, tell him how much I appreciated his support, wearing the Islanders jersey in such a passionate fan base like Winnipeg.”

Jake’s mother, Sue, extended her gratitude for Tavares’ kind gesture.

“I think that’s one of the reason’s Jake’s been such a fan of John’s for so long because of the way he presents himself. He seems very kind,” Lotocki said. “It only reinforces our opinion of him about not only being an excellent hockey player, but also a really good person.”

All future New Year’s Eve festivities for the Lotocki family will pale in comparison to Jake having met his favourite NHL player to close out 2014.

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