WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Jonathan Toews hadn’t played an NHL game in Winnipeg before Saturday afternoon. Two Stanley Cups have accompanied his only hockey-related visits, and while not as sweet as those, the Blackhawks captain was happy to get a win in his hometown.
"It was nice to be home," Toews said after the game. "You hear for a long time about the atmosphere, so it’s just a great building. The fans are really excited and bring a lot of energy to the game.
"I was definitely looking forward to the game coming in, but I think once the first puck dropped, it was just back to business as usual."
Toews said it was different being in Winnipeg during the season but that it had been enjoyable for the short time he was there.
"It is just fun," Toews said. “I went to dinner with some friends and family last night, and it is just kind of weird to be back here during the season. It took long enough, I guess, three seasons with the Jets being back to have a chance to come back here, but I think soon enough it will be kind of a normal thing. But I will definitely enjoy the first one.”
Toews has fond memories of Winnipeg as a kid growing up playing hockey.
"It just brings it all back just to be back here and kind of think about where I grew up and all the rinks I grew up playing hockey at," Toews said. "Now there is an NHL team back here, and playing at this level in my hometown is a pretty special thing."
Toews was held off the score sheet Saturday afternoon in front of the hometown crowd, which included both his mother Andrée and father Brian. Scoring was something he had hoped to do, but all was good for the 25-year-old after the game.
He said Saturday morning that a perfect game would be to get the win. Mission accomplished, and Toews is eager to get back to Chicago to face the Calgary Flames on Sunday at the United Center.
"Back to work," Toews said. "It was fun to see what it was all about and to be back here in Winnipeg. A nice win for our team, and all in all, I think I definitely enjoyed it."