Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2010, 12

Jonathon Toews accepts the key to the city of Winnipeg from Mayor Sam Katz
Jonathon Toews accepts the key to the city of Winnipeg from Mayor Sam Katz.
(Rusty Barton/Hockey Hall of Fame)
It was a storied season for the Chicago Blackhawks, and no one could possibly have contributed more to the campaign than team captain, Jonathan Toews.

Toews' contributed significantly to Chicago's first-place finish in the Western Division. His 25 goals placed him in a tie for second on the team, while his 68 points was third best on the Hawks. Yet, it can be argued that it was the intangible attributes that contributed every bit as importantly to the Hawks during the 2009-10 regular season. Almost impossible to grasp is that Toews stepped his game up even higher in the post-season, and his 29 points led all playoff performers, helping earn the captain the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player during last spring's playoffs.

Jonathan Toews was born in Winnipeg, and chose to take the Stanley Cup to his hometown on Sunday, July 10 and Monday, July 11. There, he received a deserved hero's welcome.

Jonathon Toews proudly showing off the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy
Jonathon Toews proudly showing off the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy during a parade in his honour in Winnipeg, MB. (Rusty Barton/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Afforded a police escort to City Hall, Jonathan was greeted by Mayor Sam Katz just after 11:00AM on July 10. The two Winnipeg icons stood on the same balcony where on July 3, Queen Elizabeth II stood during her visit to Manitoba's capital.

The 22-year-old captain received a visit from the Grand Chief of the First Nations, who gifted Jonathan with a beautiful pair of moccasins, decorated in Chicago Blackhawk colours, symbolizing godspeed on his continued journey.

Grand Chief Ron Evans presents a red ribbon shirt to Jonathan Toews
Grand Chief Ron Evans presents a red ribbon shirt to Jonathan Toews which included the same colours of his hockey team. Ribbon shirts are given to men to honour them for their achievements and contributions. (Rusty Barton/Hockey Hall of Fame)

Outside city hall, Toews raised the Stanley Cup in triumph, to the enormous cheers of waiting fans. During the civic reception, Jonathan was awarded the key to the city by Mayor Katz. Manitoba premier Greg Selinger then announced that a lake approximately 435 miles (700 kms) northwest of Winnipeg had been named Toews Lake to commemorate Jonathan's extraordinary year — the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe wins as well as his Olympic gold medal. The remote lake is not quite 1.5 miles (2.4 kms) long. Toews vowed to visit his namesake lake, with Flin Flon the closest town, before the new season begins. "I don't want to go there alone," he laughed. "I understand that there are no roads!"

Jonathan Toews proudly showing off the Stanley Cup at City Hall. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
After lunch in the mayor's office, Jonathan was the guest of honour at a parade through downtown Winnipeg. An estimated 10,000 cheered on their local hero as he was driven from Ecole Christine-Lesperance to the Dakota Community Centre. While Jonathan carried the Stanley Cup, his father held the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Once at the community centre, one Toews met another. Jonathan was introduced to Vic Toews, the Member of Parliament for Provencher who also serves as Minister for Public Safety. "Thank goodness you've earned such success," said the MP, who was first elected to the House of Commons in 2000. "Now, finally, people know how to pronounce my last name," he laughed. The two, incidentally, are not related.

Jonthan Toews shows off the Conn Smythe trophy, the Stanley Cup and his Olympic Gold Medal
Jonthan Toews proudly showing off the Conn Smythe trophy, the Stanley Cup and his Olympic Gold Medal. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The Blackhawks' captain was surprised when his boyhood arena, the Dakota Community Centre, was renamed the Jonathan Toews Community Centre. "This is a tremendous honour," he sputtered, astonished. "I've been looking forward to coming home with the Cup for a long time, and it's great to finally get home and share the Stanley Cup with all of you!"

That evening, Jonathan took the Stanley Cup to Earl's for a private party for family and friends. Through the night, his guests must have enjoyed sipping at least a keg of beer out of the bowl of Lord Stanley's Cup.

The celebrations continued on July 11 as the captain hosted the Boston Pizza Jonathan Toews FORE Kids Golf Classic at the sensational Pine Ridge Golf Course. Thirty-six teams teed off, helping to raise $100,000 for the Rehabilitation Centre for Children. Joining Toews was Jim Treliving, the star of Dragon's Den and owner of the Boston Pizza chain.

Jonathan Toews answers questions at the Boston Pizza Jonathan Toews FORE Kids Golf Classic.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Jonathan, along with the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Stanley Cup, which had his Olympic gold medal placed around it, took part in a question and answer session on the driving range. While there, Toews made a terrific shot that had the eyes of onlookers almost bulging out of their sockets. His drive landed right on the green. Jonathan seems as though he could compete successfully in any sport he tried.

Toews visited the Children's Hospital of Winnipeg, the only hospital between Calgary and Toronto expressly devoted to the health care of children. There, he stopped by a room for acutely-ill children who require constant monitoring, a room funded by the Amadeus Steen Foundation. Amadeus was the infant son of Winnipeg Jets` hockey legend Thomas Steen and his wife Mona.

Afterwards, Jonathan returned to the community centre now named after him for some photos, and then went back to the family home where he conducted some interviews. Brian and Audrey, his Dad and Mom, pointed out a photograph on the wall showing Jonathan and his brother, David, standing proudly with their hero, Wayne Gretzky. Who could have known at that point that Jonathan would go on to captain the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks while David, currently playing for the University of North Dakota, would be a draft pick of the New York Islanders in 2008. Jonathan's childhood bedroom was a shrine to his career, including his first pair of skates as well as medals and trophies won through the years. The Stanley Cup looked mighty fine situated right there amongst all the other rewards of an excellent career.

Jonathan Toews sharing a moment with a young girl and her dad. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame) Jonathan Toews sharing a moment with the
Stanley Cup in his childhood room.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
A group of friends took the Stanley Cup to Jonathan's condominium, then concluded the day of celebration by proceeding on to Alive in the District, one of Winnipeg's hottest nightclubs.

The modest Toews, a gentleman and superb representative of both his hometown and of the Blackhawks, had enjoyed two outstanding days squiring Lord Stanley's gift to hockey. "Winning the Stanley Cup is a dream come true," he said, "There's nothing like it, but to realize how much support and how many fans I have back here in Winnipeg, and bring the Stanley Cup back to you guys, there is nothing that compares to that, so thank you very much!"

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Buckle up and head on down the highway as we meet up with Colin Fraser and Troy Brouwer when we turn to the next page of the Stanley Cup Journal.

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Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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