Both Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith were born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As the Chicago Blackhawks get ready to take on the Winnipeg Jets Saturday afternoon, they will be excited to be back in their birth town. As a young child, Sharp's family moved to Calgary, Alberta and then to Thunder Bay, Ontario when he was nine. Keith's family moved to Fort Frances, Ontario when he was two years old. Although they were born in Winnipeg, they didn't spend their lives there. It will be a homecoming of sorts for the two Blackhawks, but it will mean so much more to a teammate of theirs.
Jonathan Toews was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He spent his childhood there, as well as his teen years. When he left Winnipeg, it was time for University. That is when Toews went to attend the University of North Dakota. Winnipeg has a big place in Toews' heart. His family and friends are still there, along with all the memories. Toews has been fortunate enough to bring the Stanley Cup back home twice, but it was the visit this past offseason that Toews got to enjoy more. The first time in 2010, he was bouncing all over the city and didn't feel like he had enough time to do what he wanted to do. In the summer of 2013, Toews was able to dictate a bit more where he wanted to take the Cup. He took it to his cottage, the community center he grew up playing hockey in, and to a local Canadian Tire where he handed out gifts to children while answering questions. Toews was then able to host several family members and friends for a rooftop terrace party.
It's easy to see how much coming back home to Winnipeg means to Toews. Instead of us trying to put into words what this return will mean, we will let him speak for himself. Here is a video of Toews talking about his return to Winnipeg.
You can bet Toews will be filled with emotions tomorrow afternoon when he takes on the Jets. He is sure to get a nice reception from the fans and will get the rare honor of being cheered in an opposing arena. With the Jets (formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers) moving to Winnipeg in 2011, Toews has yet to have the opportunity to play in his hometown until now. This Saturday will be a game for the ages.
Toews is coming off a four point performance, including recording his third career regular season hat trick on Tuesday. Let's hope Toews can come close to repeating his performance and he can give his family, friends and all the fans in Winnipeg a game to remember.
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