Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will not have that title over in Sochi, but he'll nonetheless be part of Team Canada's leadership group.
Toews and Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber were named alternate captains, and Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby will captain the Canadian squad in Russia next month. For Toews, who did not wear a letter when Team Canada won gold in the 2010 Olympic Games, sporting the “A” this time around is a privilege.
“It’s pretty cool, a pretty huge honor,” he said following the Blackhawks’ 3-2 shootout victory over the Boston Bruins on Sunday. “To just be on that team is amazing. But to be one of those guys, at my age, to be looked to for leadership, I’m excited about that. I’m confident with that role considering experience I’ve had at Olympics before and the playoffs with the team here. I’m excited for the challenge. I know it’ll be different than the role I played last time. It's not easy, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Crosby, who has been the Pittsburgh Penguins captain since the 2007-08 season, scored the game-winning goal in Team Canada’s 3-2 victory over Team USA in 2010.
Toews had a goal and seven assists for Team Canada in 2010; his lone goal gave the team a 1-0 lead in that gold-medal game. Toews, who has served as the Blackhawks’ captain since the start of the 2008-09 season, hoisted his second Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks last June. He was also awarded the Selke Trophy for best defensive forward last spring.
With Team Canada having its share of NHL captains in the room, Toews said he won’t change his style.
“I’m just going to do what normally makes me a successful hockey player and bring what I can to the table: play that smart, two-way game,” he said. “A lot of guys know how to do the same thing, so I won’t be the only one in that room.”