Blackhawks make Toews captain

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

You got the feeling it was only a matter of time and the Chicago Blackhawks have decided that the time is now.

With the team kicking off its first annual convention in the Windy City, the talented Winnipegger was officially unveiled as the Blackhawks' new team captain (and 34th in the history of the Original Six franchise) yesterday.

Toews, who is coming off a banner season that saw him named a finalist for the Calder Trophy as top rookie, becomes the third-youngest player in the history of the National Hockey League to be named captain.

At 20 years and 79 days, only Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning earned the honour more quickly than Toews, who had 24 goals and 54 points in 64 games last season.

"I actually got a text from Sidney congratulating me and he told me I could call him if I needed any advice," Toews said last night from Chicago. "It's great to be able to use people like that for tips. I'm going to go through a lot of the same things he's gone through when he was named captain."

Toews was called to a meeting with general manager Dale Tallon, head coach Denis Savard and assistant GM Stan Bowman yesterday and was asked if he was willing to become captain in just his second season. Toews quickly accepted.

"They told me that they didn't want me to change anything, just to keep doing what I've been doing," said Toews. "In a lot of ways, it's a huge honour and a lot of responsibility."

The official announcement came during the convention and drew applause from the gathered crowd.

"It was unbelievable, one of the craziest things I've ever experienced," said Toews. "They introduced all the players and I was the last one to go up. They gave me a jersey with the C on it and there were thousands of people and they just went crazy. It was pretty cool."

Tallon raved about Toews' leadership qualities in an interview with the Sun last season and re-iterated those feelings yesterday.

"Jonathan deserves this honour, he is a tremendous individual and a wonderful leader on and off the ice," Tallon said in the official press release. "He has experience in captaining teams from his World Junior appearances and guys follow his lead in our locker room."


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