John Tavares has been a lot of things for the Buffalo Bandits in his 22 National Lacrosse League seasons. Incredibly, “team captain” was not one of them. But he can’t say that now, not after he was named captain of the Buffalo Bandits for the 2013 season. The position opened after defenseman Chris White signed with the Toronto Rock as a free agent in the 2012 offseason. Tavares tells Bandits.com that a big draw for himto the position was the offseason roster overhaul that brought some fresh faces to Bandit Land. “I think part of the reason I took on this role is the amount of change on the roster,” Tavares said. “I thought I could take on a more integral role in helping develop a more positive culture on the team and mold these younger players into becoming what the coaching staff and I think a Buffalo Bandit is.”
The Bandits are 2-1 so far and Tavares is doing what he’s been doing for 20-plus seasons. He’s scoring goals and putting up points. That’s nothing new for Tavares, of course, who is the NLL’s all-time leading scorer by a large margin. But he did say he felt more pressure than he’s ever felt to produce. That’s what captains do, right?
“In order to speak up in the room, I need to be able to contribute to the team on the floor,” Tavares said. “… It’s nice when you can lead by example. It’s hard to be the captain when you’re making mistakes and trying to tell guys what they should be doing.”
It’s a sign of the professionalism Tavares brings, when a veteran of 22 years is talking about how he’d adjusting his game to fill a new role. Not for himself. But for the team. And while Tavares may now officially have the “C” on his sweater, we all know he’s been an unofficial captain of the team for more than 3 games.
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The Buffalo Bandits have set Feb. 9 as Native American Night. The Rochester Knighthawks are in town for a game that night and the evening will feature dancing, music and cultural celebrations. Also, the Bandits will present a $1,000 scholarship to a student of Native American descent. Students can apply for the scholarship by going to the Bandits website, and the deadline to apply is Feb. 4. (Bandits.com) … If you’re in the Pacific Northwest and have a daughter who dreams of becoming a Bombshell, here’s your chance to get her started. The Washington Stealth dance team is holding a 3-hour dance clinic on Feb. 9 and includes a routine that will let the young girls perform at halftime with the Bombshells. Cost is $35, and more information can be found at the Stealth website. (StealthLax.com) … More than 500 Swarm fans attended last weekend’s Winter Bowl event, meeting and hanging out with players as the team enjoyed a bye week. (MNSwarm.com).Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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