The Hockey News got personal with Jonathan Toews
for their March 5 issue, and the Blackhawks' captain graces the cover of the magazine's latest issue, which is on newsstands now.
Below is an excerpt from the feature story, written by Adam Proteau, courtesy of The Hockey News.
It should come as no surprise that, even as a kid, Chicago Blackhawks superstar Jonathan Toews was an old soul – and one with a competitive streak as long as the shorelines of Manitoba’s lakes strung end-to-end. When he was running around as a kid playing pickup games on soccer pitches in his native Winnipeg, his father Bryan said, “You would have thought they were playing for the World Cup.” When he practiced tae kwon do, he eventually had to stop because his love for hockey didn’t allow enough time to be as good as he wanted to be in that field.
Hell, as soon as Toews exited the womb April 29, 1988, he was probably lying in the hospital’s new arrivals ward, staring down other newborns and mapping out his plan to be the first baby to go home with his parents.
Yes, after four-and-a-half NHL seasons, Toews has learned the value of giving himself a small amount of breathing room outside the game. But don’t fool yourself into thinking his laurels are being rested upon in the slightest. Even now, at 23, after ascending to the pinnacle of the hockey world, he is as driven, as relentless, as consumed with competition as ever.
In the current picture, it doesn’t matter that he won a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy at 21, a World Championship at 19, two world junior gold medals and an Olympic gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games. When you’re Jonathan Toews, all that stuff is resume fodder – complimentary resume fodder that he’s quite thankful for, mind you, but fodder nonetheless.
When you’re Jonathan Toews, each sunrise is a boxing bell going off, signaling it’s time to begin the next round of the fight. And Toews is in that fight for the long haul. He possesses none of the braggadocio of Muhammad Ali, but a similar ability to strike fear into the hearts and spines of opponents like ‘The Greatest’ did. Like another Great One, Wayne Gretzky, Toews understands it’s not about whether you’ve done it all in hockey, but how many times you’ve done it all.
That’s why he’s nonplussed by the increasing amount of praise coming his way. In fact, when a reporter tells him, with Sidney Crosby’s health struggles and Alex Ovechkin failing to look like the wunderkind he did a few years back and Pavel Datsyuk approaching the back-nine of his Hall-of-Fame career, many believe he is the most complete player in the NHL today and the one most GMs would choose to build a franchise around, Toews shifts into “aw-shucks” mode and says all the right things as he always does.
“It’s always fun to hear things like that,” Toews said. “That gives you the incentive to keep working. It’s a confidence-builder, but I still feel like I’ve got a long ways to go before I start earning those comparisons if I want them to be true. As long as our team is doing well, that’s the main thing.”
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