The Chicago Blackhawks announced that centre Jonathan Toews will serve as the team's captain for the upcoming season, making him the third-youngest player to earn that distinction in the history of the National Hockey League.
Toews joins Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby and Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier as the one of the youngest players in professional hockey to captain his club.
''Jonathan deserves this honor, he is a tremendous individual and a wonderful leader on and off the ice,'' general manager Dale Tallon said. ''He has experience in captaining teams from his World Junior appearances and guys follow his lead in our locker room.''
Chicago's first choice (3rd overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Toews led league rookies with 24 goals and seven power-play markers while ranking third with 54 points during his professional debut last season. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native ranked third on the Blackhawks with 30 assists and tied for third with his 54 points while appearing in 64 of the squad's 80 matchups.
Toews, who captured a gold medal for Team Canada in the 2007 World Junior Championship, registered 40 goals and 85 points in 76 games with the University of North Dakota prior to turning pro. He joins current Blackhawks head coach Denis Savard (1988-89) as one of 34 players to wear the 'C' for the organization.
The Blackhawks also announced jersey No. 3 will be retired in honour of defencemen Keith Magnuson and Pierre Pilote during the 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 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 in 68 career playoff outings.