'Hawks pick picks school

SCOTT UNGER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Jonathan Toews has chosen to be the big man on campus over big money in the Windy City, at least for now.

The third overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, Toews will be buying school supplies and returning to the University of the North Dakota Fighting Sioux for his sophomore year this season.

"It was a bunch of things," Toews said of what played into his decision. "I went to (a prospects) camp in Chicago and they were interested in getting me for this year. Obviously it wasn't the money that made the difference."

"It's always nice to have those bonuses and everything, but that's always going to be there. If I have a good year this year too, it's just waiting for me at the end of the season."

"...Chicago picked me because eventually they want somebody that can step in a lead their team."

The key word there is eventually.

"I think if I stay one more year at North Dakota, I'll be able to develop that side of my game," he said.

GO-TO-GUY

There's no doubt Toews will be the go-to-guy for the Fighting Sioux in his second season. He was dominating towards the end of last season and finished with 22 goals and 39 points in 42 games. Not to mention his World Junior gold medal.

"All the things I am going to experience at North Dakota this year, I just realized that I would be missing out if I left early," Toews said before taking to the ice with some fellow high-profile players for the Sizzlin' Summer Showdown tonight in Selkirk in support of the Believe in the Goal Foundation and CancerCare Manitoba.

"It's huge on most campus's but there's nothing like it in the WCHA and Grand Forks. They love their hockey there. They're huge Sioux fans. When you're succeeding and doing well, they love you and support you. To be a part of that, that's really special."

Playing there is as close to playing pro hockey a player can get without earning a paycheque for it.

"It's great hockey. I found that out last year," Toews said. "Hopefully I can play a bigger part, a bigger role than what I did last year."

Tickets for the Sizzlin' Summer Showdown tonight are at Ticketmaster.

The game will pit the top NHL and AHL players from Manitoba against each other. It starts at 7 p.m.


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