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Toronto native John Tavares named captain of Maple Leafs

29-year-old previously wore the 'C' for 5 years with Islanders

John Tavares is the new captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The team made the announcement during Wednesday night’s pre-game ceremony before the NHL season opener against the Ottawa Senators, filling a role that had been vacant for more than 3 1/2 years.

The 25th captain in Leafs history, Tavares held the same job with the New York Islanders for five seasons before signing with Toronto in unrestricted free agency on July 1, 2018.

The 29-year-old centre grew up in Oakville, Ont. — a suburb just west of the city — and dreamed of suiting up for his hometown team as a kid.

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Now he also has the ‘C’ on his left shoulder, joining a list of Leafs greats that includes Hap Day, Syl Apps, Ted Kennedy, George Armstrong, Dave Keon, Darryl Sittler, Rick Vaive, Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour and Mats Sundin.

Tavares, who scored a career-high 47 goals and 88 points in 2018-19 with the Leafs, said last week it would be a “special honour” to be named captain.

“We know about the history, the tradition and what it would mean to the city and the fan base,” said the first pick in the 2009 NHL draft. “It’s not something you can ever take for granted, but at the same time I don’t think you want to change who you are.”

Tavares, who scored a career-high 47 goals and 88 points in 2018-19 with the Leafs, said last week it would be a “special honour” to be named captain.

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