On Tuesday night, Jonathan Toews will play in his 500th regular season for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Over the course of 499 games, Toews has led the resurrection of a franchise the likes of which professional sports in North America has not seen before. From being named one of the worst franchises in sports by both Sports Illustrated and Forbes to winning a Stanley Cup championship in less than five years, the rebirth of the organization – and continued commitment to excellence – is personified by the team’s young captain.
It took 64 games in the NHL – a rookie season that was cut short but still earned him the runner-up to Patrick Kane for the Calder Trophy – for Toews to establish himself as a franchise-altering leader. On July 18, 2008, Toews was named the 34th captain in the history of the Chicago Blackhawks.
His first 499 regular season games have come over the span of six full NHL seasons, one lockout-shortened season and the beginning of the 2014-15 campaign. In those games, Toews has scored 201 goals and added 252 assists. His 201 goals appropriately rank 19th in the history of the franchise.
Toews is tied with Jeremy Roenick for fifth in the history of the franchise with 38 game-winning goals, and his nine short-handed goals are tied with Doug Wilson for 11th in team history.
Toews has also won the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the league once, and was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason’s most valuable player in 2010.
His resume, at the age of 26, is that of a Hall of Famer. Thankfully the story isn’t done being written. Tonight, he reaches another benchmark in his career.