Q&A with Jonathan Toews

By Matt MacInnis

Jonathan Toews was the third overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. The forward was widely considered to be the most complete player available at the draft and also possesses good size at 6’1, nearly 200 lbs as a teenager. Toews spent the 2005-06 hockey season playing for the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, appearing in 42 games and scoring 39 points (22 goals, 17 assists). Toews also appeared as a 17-year old on Canada’s gold-medal winning World Junior team.

Toews was visibly excited after being selected and was constantly taking a break from answering questions to look at the TV monitors in the interview pit to see who was the most recent prospect selected.

Hockey’s Future had the opportunity to talk with Toews minutes after he was picked by the Hawks.

HF: I see you keep looking at the monitors to see what’s happening. Are you trying to follow one guy in particular?
JT: Oh my good buddy Kyle Okposo just got drafted. I mean, you know all these guys after a couple weekends of time spent together.

HF: Are you a draft junkie?
JT: (smiling and laughing) Yeah, yeah.

HF: How have you found the entire draft experience today?
JT: Oh, I mean, it’s awesome. It only happens once in your career, so I’ve been trying to enjoy it and take it all in and enjoying myself as much as I can.

HF: Did you get any indication from Chicago when you interviewed with them that they liked you and were interested in selecting you?
JT: Yeah, I think so. I think the interview went really well and they told me, basically, that they were very interested in me and they might take me with their third pick. But then again, they don’t want to give too much away to any teams picking later on and stuff. This is awesome now.

HF: There was a lot of media attention around the Draft Combine this year. How would you describe your experience at that event?
JT: It’s pretty cool to look back on that now. All the guys here now, it was good to meet them and to go through all that experience. And after a long season, it’s definitely a good feeling to get drafted.

HF: Do you know anything about any of the other prospects you’re joining in the Blackhawks’ system?
JT: Absolutely, yeah, it’s pretty easy cause I met a lot of them at Christmastime and you know, my teammate from last year, Chris Porter, is a prospect with them. So yeah, it’s pretty cool. I just have to start working as hard as I can.

HF: How did you get to know them last Christmas?
JT: Well, they were all on my team, I guess, with Team Canada. The Winnipegger, Cam Barker and my roommate Dan Bertram, Dave Bolland and all those guys. It’s pretty cool, they’re all great guys and hopefully we can all play together some day.

HF: How much do you think your strong performance at the World Junior Championships with Team Canada impacted your selection today?
JT: Well, I mean, it’s a long ways. It’s tough to tell. It definitely triggered a lot of my good performances in the second half of the season. I had a lot of confidence coming back, and it was a good experience for me.

HF: How long do you think it will be until you’re ready to step into the NHL?
JT: Um, it’s very difficult to tell. I think I’ve been working really hard this summer; I’m going to keep doing that. I’ll do what I can. My dream is to play in the National Hockey League one way or another. Just to go out there, to one day have a chance to go out there in the NHL.

HF: What will you be doing for training this offseason? JT: I guess every week I’ll be training with a group in downtown Winnipeg.

Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.