Jonathan Toews has added another accolade to a trophy case that’s already quickly filling up.
The Winnipeg-born captain of the Chicago Blackhawks has been named the winner of TSN’s That’s Hockey Franchise Faceoff, with fans voting him as the player 23 years old or younger that they would most want to start a franchise with. The two-time 40-goal scorer beat out Tampa Bay Lightning centre Steven Stamkos earlier this month in the final round of the contest.
“It means a lot,” Toews said Wednesday in Oakville, just west of Toronto, where he was supporting Canadian Tire Jumpstart, a charitable program that helps financially disadvantaged kids participate in organized sports.
“Unfortunately not everyone gets the same chances I did,” said Toews, the charity’s official spokesperson.
Nor will everyone pile up the accolades Toews has over the course of his career. In fact, very few ever will.
Consider the list and it’s easy to see why he’s the fans' favourite young gun to start a franchise with: he helped Team Canada to world junior gold in 2006 and 2007, was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team in 2008, the same year he was named Chicago’s captain. Then, in 2010, he not only won the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy, he also helped Canada win gold at the Olympic Games in Vancouver.
Of all those accolades, however, there’s one that the 23-year-old is most proud of.
“It means a lot to play for Canada. I grew up playing in the world juniors, and you never think you’ll be one of the 25 guys or so playing at the Olympics. But all that aside, there’s no better feeling than to play from late September to June to eventually win the Stanley Cup,” he says.
Despite the fact that he’s already racked up more honours than most players will over their careers, Toews says he has no problem staying motivated as he heads into his fifth season with the Blackhawks.
“I definitely want to win another Stanley Cup,” he says. “I don’t think it will be very long before we have the team to do it.”
With the off-season winding down, Toews says his goal, besides winning another Cup, is to emulate his boyhood hero and role model.
“There’s definitely a couple of players that you have a lot of respect for and that you want to play like. When I was growing up it was always Joe Sakic. He was the player I wanted to be like, with the shot and no celebration after goals,” he says. “Just play the game the right way. He was a great leader.”