Born and raised across the border in Ontario, John Tavares is known simply as “The Living Legend” in the Western New York lacrosse community. A gifted goal scorer with an unrivaled lacrosse IQ, Tavares has established himself as one of the most decorated and celebrated players in both U.S. and Canadian box lacrosse history.

Tavares was acquired from Detroit in 1991 by the Buffalo Bandits at the start of their inaugural season in the National Lacrosse League. He made an immediate impact scoring the game winning overtime goal to clinch the Bandits first ever NLL Championship. He led the Bandits to consecutive championships in 1992 and 1993 and was named game MVP both years.

Tavares is the NLL’s all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played for both the regular season (306 GP, 815 goals, 934 assists, 1,749 points) and playoffs (37 GP, 84 goals, 116 assists, 200 points). He is a three-time league MVP, a 19 time All-Pro selection and has appeared in a league record 10 All-Star games. He holds a league record 185 game point streak that stretched for more than a decade (from 2002-14) and is the first person in league history to score 100 points in a season. He has led the Bandits to the playoffs 20 times in his 24 year career.

The most prolific player in Bandits history, John is the all-time leader in every major offensive category and holds the single season franchise record for points. Remarkably, he has scored or assisted on 39% of all goals in Bandits history.

Tavares was also a dominant force in Canada’s Major Series Lacrosse League and Western Lacrosse Association. He earned eight MSL scoring titles and was a three time league MVP. He won a record eight Canadian Championships, known as the Mann Cup, while playing for the Brampton Excelsiors and Six Nations Chiefs of the MSL, and Victoria Shamrocks of the WLA. He is also a three time Mann Cup MVP.

Success followed Tavares throughout his career. All told, he was a member of 12 championship teams including four with the Buffalo Bandits. In 1998 he was named to the All-World Team at the World Lacrosse Championships.

While playing in Buffalo, Tavares earned his degree from D’Youville College and was hired as a mathematics teacher at Philip Pocock Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, where he teaches today. Never one to boast, many of his students are unaware that the humble and gracious Tavares is one of the best to ever play lacrosse.


The biographies contained on this website were written at the time of the honoree's induction into the Hall of Fame. No attempt has been made to update these narratives to reflect more recent events, activities, or statistics.