DENVER – Twice in his career, the Blackhawks’ captain had the honor of representing his country in the Winter Olympics – and he did it well.
In the Vancouver games of 2010 and the Sochi games of 2014, Jonathan Toews helped lead Team Canada to Gold Medal victories. It adds to the center’s impressive resume that also including three Stanley Cups for the Blackhawks.
While Toews will get the chance for the latter this years and for many to come, that won’t be the case in the Olympics. On Monday the NHL announced that they will no longer take a mid-season break to allow players to travels overseas to take part in the Winter Games.
Needles to say, Toews wasn’t happy. Before the Blackhawks’ game with the Avalanche on Tuesday night, he spoke out against the decision made by the league.
“There’s a lot that goes into it that makes it special and, again, it’s unfortunate there is no cooperation or understanding there,” said Toews of the decision made by the league to Chicago Blackhawks TV.
It’s created a lot of controversy around the NHL over the past day, with many players speaking out against the decision. Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin even told reporters that he still plans represent Russia in the 2018 South Korea games.
While Toews didn’t mention that in his comments, he did speak about how tough it will be not to have the chance to represent Canada next winter.
“I know a majority of the guys I talk to that would have the chance to play at that level would want to take advantage of it. Obviously there is some history behind it as well,” said Toews. “If you compare it, the last few chances I’ve gotten to go to the Olympics compared to the World Cup, there was no comparison really as far as energy and just excitement to not only be apart of the hockey team but being part of a larger group of athletes representing your country.”
It’s a chance Toews or his fellow NHL players won’t get again for the foreseeable future.