Olympic men's hockey: Worldly men
One wall of Jonathan Toews' high-rise condo in downtown Chicago is decorated with four Hockey Canada jerseys with gold medals hanging around them. They are a reminder of his incredible international success. He captained Canada's Under-17 team to...
One wall of Jonathan Toews' high-rise condo in downtown Chicago is decorated with four Hockey Canada jerseys with gold medals hanging around them.
They are a reminder of his incredible international success.
He captained Canada's Under-17 team to an international gold medal in 2005. He won back-to-back World Junior Championship gold medals in 2006 and 2007.
Just five months after winning the second World Junior gold, Toews became the first player in Canadian history to win gold in the Men's World Championship in the same year.
Now, Toews has a chance to add a centerpiece to his living room wall and the highlight of his international hockey career.
Despite being just 21 years old, Toews has been picked to join the star-studded Canadian Olympic hockey team, which begins play at 6:30 tonight (CNBC) against Norway. Toews is the youngest forward on the squad, the second-youngest overall player.
His play through two-and-a-half NHL seasons and his history of winning championships at every level was enough for general manager Steve Yzerman to select the former UND standout, despite leaving several perennial NHL All-Stars off the team.
"It's pretty impressive," said UND coach Dave Hakstol, who recruited Toews to Grand Forks and coached him for two seasons. "It speaks to his ability to perform under pretty high intensity and pressure situations. I think it also speaks to what kind of person he is, just as much as what kind of player he is. Canada has a lot of great, young players. But there are very few who have the total package of competitiveness, character and ability."
Toews isn't the only former Sioux player looking to continue international hockey success at the 2010 Winter Games.
Former UND forward Zach Parise will represent Team USA, which opens play at 2 p.m. today against Switzerland (USA Network).
Parise led Team USA to its first-ever gold at the World Junior Championship in 2005 in Finland. Parise was the MVP of that tournament, which featured stars such as Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. He'll be playing against all of those guys in Vancouver.
NHL.com voted Parise as the best American-born in the game last summer and the New Jersey Devils star is expected to be a leader for the U.S.
"He won't be looked at as one of the elder statesmen on that team," Hakstol said. "But I'm pretty sure he'll be looked to for his professionalism in and around the rink."
Parise will wear an 'A' as an alternate captain for the Americans.
Toews and Parise will square off Sunday in a preliminary-round showdown between the Americans and the Canadians. Medal-round play begins next week.
"It's such a quick building process. You have to have a real strong foundation and immediately start building through the tournament," Hakstol said. "Both Zach with the U.S. and Jonathan with Team Canada are going to be large parts of that building process."
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to email@example.com .