John Tavares, Sam Gagner to operate Toronto Marlboros minor-hockey club

When John Tavares first joined the Toronto Marlboros in his GTHL days, it wasn't practice that saw him find his chemistry with his new teammate Sam Gagner, but a backyard rink. A rink that ended up shaping their NHL futures.

John Tavares and Sam Gagner have gone back to their hockey roots as they will help operate the Toronto Marlboros of the Greater Toronto Hockey League, Elliotte Freidman reported during Saturday Headlines on Hockey Night in Canada.

Tavares and Gagner were teammates on the Marlboros for two seasons, leading the team to an OHL Cup Championship in 2005. Gagner was awarded the OHL Cup MVP after leading the tournament in scoring with 17 points in five games.

The duo spent a lot of time together growing up as Gagner's father Dave was an assistant coach for the Marlboros and hosted Tavares at their house where they had an outdoor rink. Both Tavares and Gagner see the opportunity to work with the youth organization as a way to pay back the community that played a big role in their development as players.

“They both talked about giving back to the sport when their careers are done,” Friedman explained. “Tavares and Gagner [will do that] now and after they are finished on the ice in their NHL careers."

Tavares responded to Friedman’s report on Saturday saying that he and Gagner are in the process of taking over operations for Marlboros.

“It's still kind of in the process, so I don't want to get too much into it,” Tavares said. “Sam approached me when the opportunity presented itself to him in the off-season. When the time's right and the process plays out, we’ll have more of a formal update on it. But obviously, the organization means a lot to us.”

The Marlboros have seen numerous alumni selected in the NHL Draft including Connor McDavid, Jack and Quinn Hughes, Rick Nash, Jason Spezza and most recently Jamie Drysdale. The team is entering its 122nd season of competition after it was founded by local businessman John Earls as part of the Toronto Marlborough Athletic Club.

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