Talents the likes of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane come around once in a lifetime in the NHL.
No one realizes that more than Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough, Stan Bowman and the rest of the Chicago Blackhawks' hierarchy, so they did not wait long to lock in the young forwards to eight-year contract extensions worth $10.5 million per year that will run through the 2022-23 season.
"When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization," Chairman Wirtz said in a statement. "There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago. We are excited for our future and proud that they will continue to be a part of that commitment and success for years to come."
Added Team President John McDonough: "The signings of Jonathan and Patrick symbolize an important milestone in franchise history."
Like they did with their second NHL contracts, Toews and Kane agreed to new deals together Tuesday that should help ensure that the Hawks remain Stanley Cup title contenders for the next decade or so.
"I could not be more grateful for the amazing moments and opportunities I've been given by the Chicago Blackhawks," Toews said. "There's no organization in sports that cares more about the overall experience of their fans and the success of their players. To have the chance to continue with this amazing group of teammates and people throughout the organization is an incredible honor. There's nothing we want more as players than to continue to win Stanley Cups for the best hockey fans on the planet."
The extensions will keep the dynamic duo from reaching free agency and kick in for the 2015-16 season.
"It's great to be able to continue my career in Chicago," Kane said. "Playing with the best organization in sports and the best fans in the game is a blessing. Since I was drafted by the Blackhawks, the people of Chicago have really embraced me and treated me with nothing but respect. I look forward to many more years of success with the Blackhawks."
Toews, 26, and Kane, 25, already have amassed hockey resumes that put them in discussion for the Hockey Hall of Fame. In addition to both being two-time Cup champs, each has won a Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable players in a postseason.
Toews has won two Olympic gold medals while playing for Canada and has a Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward. Kane has a silver medal obtained while playing for the United States and was the NHL's Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year in 2008.
Toews was the Hawks' top pick (third overall) in the 2006 NHL entry draft and has gone on to amass 195 goals and 245 assists in 484 career-regular season games.
Kane, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, has 178 goals and 315 in 515 career regular-season contests.
"Jonathan and Patrick have become cornerstones of this franchise during their time in Chicago," general manager Stan Bowman said. "We are excited to ensure they will continue to lead our organization for years to come."
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