A couple of announcements that were made at tonight's Hawks Convention:
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that center Jonathan Toews will serve as the team’s captain during the 2008-09 regular season, making him the third-youngest player to earn that distinction in the history of the National Hockey League.
Toews (20 years, 79 days) joins Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier as the one of the youngest players in professional hockey to captain his club. Crosby assumed his role at 19 years and 297 days, while Lecavalier took on the captaincy for the Lightning at 19 years and 330 days.
This is a good move. I think it was the worst kept secret that the Blackhawks wanted to make Toews the next captain of this team, and the only question was when it was going to happen. He's very young to be a leader but he's already shown the qualities you would want in a captain at this early point in his career, and I hope he holds that C on his jersey for a long, long time. Congrats to him on earning that honor.
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today the organization will retire jersey No. 3 in honor of defensemen Keith Magnuson and Pierre Pilote during the a 2008-09 regular season home game to be announced at a later date.
"In keeping consistent with honoring our past greats, the Blackhawks are proud to announce that we will be retiring the number three for two wonderful gentlemen," Blackhawks President John McDonough said. "The number three hanging in their honor will be a continuing memory to our fans and players on what it means to be a distinguished member of the Blackhawks family."
Magnuson spent 11 seasons in a Blackhawks uniform (1969-80), racking up 1,442 penalty minutes and 139 points (14 goals, 125 assists) in 589 career games, which includes captaining the squad for three years (1976-79). The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native helped Chicago reach the postseason eight times, collecting 164 penalty minutes and 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) in 68 career playoff outings.
Following his playing career, Magnuson served as Chicago’s head coach during the 1980-81 campaign before helping organize and serving as president of the Blackhawks Alumni Association. He passed away tragically in an automobile accident on Dec. 15, 2003, at the age of 56.
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Pilote ranks second among defensemen in franchise history with 400 assists and fourth with 477 points in 821 contests spanning 13 seasons in a Blackhawks sweater (1955-68). The Kenogami, Quebec, native is one of four players in the history of the NHL to capture three straight James Norris Memorial Trophies as the league’s outstanding all-round defenseman, a feat he accomplished in 1963, 1964 and 1965. A First-Team All-Star five times during his career (1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967), Pilote captained the Blackhawks to the 1961 Stanley Cup and held that position until the end of the 1967-68 campaign.
I think this is also a good job by the Hawks of retiring a number that needed to be retired. Many Hawks fans have been saying for a while that Pilote deserved to have his number retired, and Magnuson just always was a true Blackhawk, and overall it's a good thing that no other Blackhawk player will ever be able to wear #3 again. Good gesture by Wirtz, McDonough and the rest of the organization.