TORONTO - New York Islanders forward John Tavares made an on-ice appearance with three other NHL players for charity Thursday, but the new walking boot on his right foot prevented him from doing much more than talking and eating ice cream.
An MRI has revealed the 19-year-old phenom has a stress fracture in his right foot, stemming from a shot that hit his skate at the IIHF World Hockey Championship last month in Germany. Tavares continued playing without any pain, but said he could tell something was not quite right.
"I don't think it's a very serious injury," he said. "It's just something we found out (Wednesday), and we want to make sure we're on top of it, and make sure it doesn't get any worse."
The impact occurred in Canada's game against Sweden on May 16, which ended in a loss as the Canadian team slipped toward a seventh-place finish. Tavares led the tournament in scoring with seven goals in seven games.
"It was great for me, being able to continue my season and play at a high level like that," Tavares said. "To get to represent your country, there's no greater honour. And, of course, for my development, I think it was huge to play with some of the best players from Canada, and to get that international experience against some great players."
Tavares was speaking at a downtown Toronto hockey rink, promoting a charitable endeavour aimed at helping underprivileged youth in hockey. Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza, Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos were also on hand as ice cream maker Ben&Jerry's launched a new flavour, with a portion of the proceeds going to the game's grassroots level.
Tavares said he plans to resume skating in July, and will be back at full strength in time for his second training camp with the Islanders this fall. Tavares finished his rookie season with 24 goals and 54 points in 82 games in New York.
"I'm in the boot for a couple of weeks," he said. "And then, you know, probably another week of staying off of it."