WINNIPEG — Jonathan Toews received a hero’s welcome in his hometown Sunday, along with other accolades for the quiet 22-year-old who has already won a lifetime’s worth of awards.
Toews was cheered by hundreds of fans who chanted his name outside city hall as he raised the Stanley Cup and kissed it. Many supporters wore Chicago Blackhawks jerseys with Toews’ name and number.
"Even though he’s famous, he’s still very humble and remembers his roots and doesn’t take it all for granted," gushed Toni Toews — no relation — who showed up two hours early with her 16-year-old daughter Georgee, carrying a banner inscribed with the words "You did it".
Toews was given the key to the city by Mayor Sam Katz, and had a lake named after him by Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger. He was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.
"You can’t come home and experience that type of thing during the season, you’re so busy," Toews said. "To see it and experience it is something different altogether.
"I didn’t expect this. I thought it would be an hour with the mayor just to hang out."
Toews has had a whirlwind 2010. He was a big factor in the Canadian men’s team’s gold medal victory at the Olympics. He captained the Blackhawks to their first championship in 49 years in June, and won the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP.
Add to that a gold medal at the 2007 world junior championships, making Toews one of only seven Canadians to have won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold and the world juniors. A lot has happened early for the young man who some fans say has a polite, quiet demeanour similar to Wayne Gretzky or Jean Beliveau.
For now, Toews will have a chance to relax with family and friends before the upcoming season. He plans on going to the remote lake near Flin Flon, Man., that now bears his name.
"I don’t want to go there alone. I guess there’s no roads there. We were joking about that earlier — we’re going to have to build one," he chuckled.