John Tavares, Sam Gagner become controlling members of Toronto Marlboros

Arun Srinivasan
·2 min read

The Toronto Marlboros are the most prestigious minor hockey organization in Canada, and it's only fitting that John Tavares and Sam Gagner are circling back to where their NHL dreams all started.

Tavares and Gagner released a joint statement Tuesday, revealing that they've become the controlling members of the Greater Toronto Hockey League organization.

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"We are very excited in the coming months to be transitioning into the role of controlling members of the Toronto Marlboros Hockey Club of the Greater Toronto Hockey League," Tavares and Gagner wrote.

"There is a tremendous sense of pride about being a Marlboro and everything it stands for and we don't take that responsibility lightly."

For those who aren't acquainted with the inner workings of minor hockey, the Marlboros are a minor hockey organization that has sent several players to the NHL, including Tavares and Gagner, Connor McDavid, Jack and Quinn Hughes, Rick Nash, Dylan and Ryan Strome and Jason Spezza among several others. They are often considered the preeminent team in the GTHL. It serves as a community league, but at the AAA level it's often considered a feeder system for the OHL and other major junior clubs.

John Tavares and Sam Gagner are returning to their roots. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
John Tavares and Sam Gagner are returning to their roots. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tavares and Gagner spent their minor hockey careers with the Marlboros. The 1989-born Marlboros (where Tavares played a year up, and earned exceptional status into the OHL Draft) are the best minor hockey team of all-time, graduating Tavares, Gagner, Brendan Smith, Cody Goloubef and Akim Aliu to the NHL. Some would argue that Steven Stamkos's 1990-born Markham Waxers are in the mix, too, but Tavares and Gagner won everything in sight over their final three years of their minor hockey careers, including the 2005 OHL Cup, where Gagner was named tournament MVP after posting 17 points en route to defeating a London Jr. Knights team that featured Drew Doughty.

Dave Gagner, Sam's father, who also played 946 games in the NHL, served as an assistant on his son's team.

It's a fitting way for two of the club's legends to give back to the community and inspire the next McDavid or Tavares.

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