Toews adds to legacy with Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe Trophy

Three years ago, the Chicago Blackhawks were a last-place team, 25 points out of the playoffs. They ranked 29 of 30 teams in attendance, dropping below what the Wisconsin Badgers drew down the highway.

Jonathan Toews
Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews, a former UND Fighting Sioux player, carries the Stanley Cup after the Blackhawks beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime to win Game 6 of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey finals in Philadelphia in 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Three years ago, the Chicago Blackhawks were a last-place team, 25 points out of the playoffs. They ranked 29 of 30 teams in attendance, dropping below what the Wisconsin Badgers drew down the highway.

They only had one playoff appearance in a decade. Hadn't won one in 12 years.

Those were the circumstances when the Blackhawks signed a 19-year-old All-American from UND in the summer of 2007.

But just like he's done throughout his career, Jonathan Toews, made sure his team was a winner.

The Western College Hockey Association champion, two-time World Junior champion, World Championship victor and Olympic gold medalist won a Stanley Cup on Wednesday night with a franchise that appeared to be as doomed and hopeless as the baseball squad on the North Side.


It was the first Cup for the Blackhawks in 49 years.

The 22-year-old Toews first accepted the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Then, he returned to the podium to accept hockey's greatest prize.

"It's like that commercial," Toews said. "I'm speechless.

"This is the best feeling you can get playing hockey. I can't believe this happened."

For those following Toews' career, this is very believable.

He's always been a winner.

The IIHF has something called the "Triple Gold Club" for those who have won the World Men's Championship, Olympics and Stanley Cup. Toews became the 24th member and the youngest.

Only nine players, including Toews, have a World Junior title to go along with the Triple Gold Club. Nobody has completed that feat under the age of 30. Toews is 22.


"It's tough to bet against the guy," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. "Because he's a winner.

"This is just a continuation of the type of performances we've become accustomed to seeing from him. In saying that, there's absolutely nothing ordinary about what he's doing."

Toews is the first WCHA player to ever captain a team to a Stanley Cup. He's also the first WCHA player to win Conn Smythe.

"How cool is that?" asked UND captain Chay Genoway, who was Toews' roommate at Shattuck-St. Mary's and close friend in Grand Forks.

"It has all come so quickly. He was here just a couple of years ago. Now, all of the sudden, he's one of the most recognized guys in that city."

Toews' season has been one for the history books.

Four months ago, he was the leading scorer for gold medalist Canada in the Olympic Games. Toews -- not Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin -- was named the most valuable forward in that tournament.

Toews returned to the Blackhawks and was just as brilliant in the NHL playoffs. The Winnipeg native broke Stan Mikita's team playoff point streak record and tied Denis Savard's playoff point record.


Sports legend Michael Jordan even showed up to Game 5 of the finals wearing a Toews jersey and Jordan's statue outside of the United Center donned the same sweater.

"You can't write a better story than what he's done," said Genoway, who talks to Toews on a regular basis. "He deserves all of the success he's gotten. I've never met a guy who has worked harder for it than him. Everyone knew he was going to be great.

"The greatest part is that through all of his success, Jonny is just Jonny. He's so modest. All of this will never go to his head. He'll never change. He's just a fun-loving, regular guy. You'd never know who he was."

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to .

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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