WINNIPEG — Maybe it was the heat, or perhaps the third time really isn’t a charm.
A scarce crowd assembled Friday to welcome back Chicago Blackhawks captain and Winnipeg boy Jonathan Toews to his old St. Vital stomping crowds. The Stanley Cup winner came with hockey’s coveted trophy for a community celebration for the third time in six years.
Toews spoke to the media briefly inside an air conditioned Jonathan Toews Sportsplex on Dakota Street before bringing the Cup outside to the couple hundred of fans who had gathered.
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will bring the famed Stanley Cup to the St. Vital community centre bearing his name on Friday.
A public celebration will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Jonathan Toews Sportsplex, 1188 Dakota Street. A Q&A session will give fans the opportunity to ask a question, but unlike previous Stanley Cup celebrations, no autographs or individual photographs will be allowed.
Toews played for the Dakota Lazers as a young hockey player, and Dakota’s main building was renamed in his honour after his first Stanley Cup win in 2010 and gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics with Team Canada.
The Winnipeg Jets started free agency by locking up two of their own players and bringing back another.
Winnipeg agreed to terms on a two-year contract with forward Alexander Burmistrov and one-year deals with defenceman Adam Pardy and forward Matt Halischuk. Versatile winger Michael Frolik left to sign a US$21.5-million, five-year contract with the Calgary Flames.
The 23-year-old Burmistrov has spent the past two seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League with Ak-Bars Kazan. He spent his first three professional seasons with the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise, scoring 23 goals and adding 35 assists in 194 NHL games.
“I heard from guys, he’s a super good guy and he’s got a ton of skill,” Pardy said on a conference call. “I’m hoping that he’s coming in here to buy into our game and fill a big hole that we’re going to miss with Fro.”
The Winnipeg Jets will open their 2015-16 pre-season at home against their northern rivals the Minnesota Wild on September 22.
That’s just one of a seven-game pre-season schedule released Friday by the club. Following that, the Jets will hit the road to face the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on September 23. The Oilers will then pay Winnipeg a visit on September 25. The Jets wrap up the exhibition schedule on October 1 and 3 with a pair of games against the Calgary Flames.
Prior to the NHL pre-season, the Jets will play in the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, BC September 11-14 against the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.