<<Weight Makes Tavares Feel at Home
Posted Sep 25, 2009 4:30PM By Christopher Botta
Doug Weight, his wife Allison and their three children live on the North Shore of Long Island. For the next month or so, the NHL veteran and his family will be joined in their house by a teenager: 2009 first overall pick John Tavares.
"They've made me feel right at home," said Tavares. "Some home-cooked meals, a nice family to be with. It really was a kind gesture by Doug and his wife."
Weight roomed with Tavares when the Islanders spent the first 10 days of training camp in Saskatoon. The 38-year-old Weight and 19-year-old Tavares struck a friendship almost immediately. When Weight heard that his young teammate was delayed from moving into the place he rented, he got the green light from Allison and extended the invitation.
The veteran center also remembered the leadership he received as a young player with the Oliers. This was a chance to pay it forward.
"Kelly Buchberger and his family took me into their home in Edmonton when I started there," said Weight. "Their kindness had a big impact on me and helped me with being able to focus on the game. Kelly was so good to me, I stayed the entire season. Every month I'd tell him, 'No really, I'm looking for a place. I'll be out of here any day now.' The truth was, I didn't want to go anywhere else."
Weight was very happy when Tavares accepted his offer. "You never know how a young man like John is going to react," said Weight. "I didn't want him to move in just because he thought it might hurt our feelings if he said no. But when I asked him at the end of camp in Saskatoon, he was genuinely excited about it. I don't think he wanted to stay in a hotel during his first month in the NHL. He was so appreciative. That made me feel good."
So on Thursday night, the teammates picked up Weight's children at their after-school activities and went home to grill some steaks. "A night like that, just relaxing with friends and having a great meal, I can't thank Doug and his family enough," said Tavares. Said Weight, "John's a big part of our franchise, but he's just a terrific, humble kid. Allison and I want him to feel comfortable. And besides, my kids love having John around."
Hmmm ... is it possible the cagey veteran has an ulterior motive?
"Well," said Weight with a laugh, "John doesn't know this yet, but he's going to be doing some babysitting. There's also a lot of youth hockey and soccer practices he'll need to be at."
Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick