Rest in peace, John Tavella

October 23, 2015

Left winger John Tavella played only one season in the Ontario Hockey League — but what a season it was.

After a couple of years of trying, Tavella finally made the Soo Greyhounds as a 19-year old walk-on in 1975.

And not only did Tavella make the Greyhounds, he went on to score 67 goals, 70 assists, 137 points during that 1975-1976 season. For his exploits, Tavella was named OHL rookie-of-the-year.

A native of Wawa, Ont. who played two seasons with the Windsor Spitfires (when they were a Tier 2, junior team) before joining the Greyhounds, the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Tavella was an instant success as an OHLer with the Soo while playing on a line with centre Mike Kaszycki and right winger Doug Patey.

Kaszycki won the OHL scoring title during that 1975-1976 season with 51 goals, 119 assists, 170 points. Patey filled out the high-scoring troika with 45 goals, 65 assists, 110 points.

The 1975-1976 season was the Hounds fourth as members of the OHL and under coach Muzz MacPherson, the Soo made the playoffs for the first time.

Besides linemates Kaszycki and Patey, Tavella’s notable teammates during his one-and-only OHL season with the Greyhounds included goalie David Legree and defencemen Craig Hartsburg, Dave Mancuso, Tim Rose and Mike Rusin and forward Vince Friyia.

Mancuso, Rose and Friyia were all products of the Soo minor hockey system.

Following his OHL playing career — he was a National Hockey League draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens — Tavella returned to his Wawa roots to work and raise a family.

Tavella passed away earlier this week in his hometown at age 59.

Rest in peace, John.

What you think about “Rest in peace, John Tavella”

  1. Very saddened by this terrible news! I remember his season fondly. When I built my tribute rink he was literally in my top ten inductees and one of the first players I enshrined of the 90 Soo Greyhounds that were to follow! Very sad day

  2. I was honored to call John a friend. He played with our G-Gang Hockey crew from the Steel Plant back in the day and was nothing but a class act on and off the ice. He was a great player but a better person. Our thoughts go out to his family.

  3. It was a pleasure all in itself knowing that you had Johnny as a friend. To watch him skate wether it be a team mate, playing against him or watching from the stands his creativity was that of Picasso. To be acknowledged in the original six era is an astronomical achievement all in itself. Everyone’s confidence level was boosted with his presence.

    Thanks for the memories John.

  4. Sorry to hear the news of John’s passing. Great player and teammate!!!!! My thoughts to his family.
    Vince Friyia

  5. Johnny was a bright light every day . We shared one year and a life of laughs. Condolences to his family.

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