David Toews is pretty sure the same line of discussion on how he compares to his older brother will surround him for the next three or four years.
The 17-year-old brother of Jonathan Toews -- the Chicago Blackhawks' third pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and Canadian World Junior hockey hero -- is ready for the inevitable measuring stick. Especially now that he's following his brother's footsteps.
David, like Jon, is attending Shattuck-St.Mary's, the prep school in Minnesota which is gaining a quick reputation as an NHL star factory. Despite a broken wrist, the younger Toews led Shattuck in scoring as a junior last season and will skate there again this winter. A few of the notables to lead Shattuck in scoring the past few years: Sidney Crosby, Jon Toews, and Zach Parise.
Following that, and again like his brother before him, David will be attending the University of North Dakota for the 2008-09 season, verbally committing to the school last week.
If he's trying to avoid the comparisons, he's doing a terrible job.
"Comparisons (to Jon) will probably come up a million times," David said the other day. "We both have similar styles but we're unique in the way we play. They're always there, you just have to look past what everyone is talking about. If it's not (being compared) to my brother, then it's being compared to someone else. That's just part of the game. It's a motivator, really, when people judge your game. I just try and go out and play, try to forget what people are saying."
Committing to UND might have been the easiest decision the 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward has made. His brother played there for two seasons and the Fighting Sioux coach, Dave Hakstol, had been pushing for the other Toews to get with the program. Hakstol had reached out to David a few months ago, but the youngster took a little extra time to consider the offer.
"I've been talking to them for a long time, so I just sat down with my parents and I told them this is what I wanted," Toews said. "I got the offer that I wanted, so there was no real need to wait. I know what North Dakota hockey is all about with Jon having been there. I knew it was the place, I've been going there to watch a few games before Jon even played there.
"The last couple years it's almost ben like one big visit I've been there so much. I'm pretty familiar with everything there. I know what I was getting myself into."
On the ice almost every day at the Winnipeg Winter Club and Dakota Community Club, Toews is preparing for the National Summer Under-18 Selection Camp in Calgary next month (Aug. 4-9). Fellow Manitobans Michael Stone, Colby Robak, Dale Hunt and Jordan Mistelbacher have also been invited to the week-long tryout.
The Ivan Hlinka Under-18 Memorial Tournament (formerly Jr. World Cup) opens Aug. 14 in the Czech Republic.