The Chicago Blackhawks have maintained all along that they would re-sign Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and they did exactly that on Wednesday as the team announced they had inked eight-year contract extensions with both players.
The deals will keep the Blackhawks' cornerstone players with the team through the end of the 2022-23 season, and will take effect next season.
"I could not be more grateful for the amazing moments and opportunities I've been given by the Chicago Blackhawks," Toews said after the deals were announced. "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 cahnce to continue with this amazing group of teammates and people throughout the organization is an incredible honor."
"It's great to be able to continue my career in Chicago," Kane said in a statement. "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."
As is typically the case, the Blackhawks did not announce financial details of the contracts, but Elliotte Friedman of HNIC had the financials:
AAV for both is 10.5 — Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 9, 2014
Both players have been instrumental to the team's rise back to prominence, and their careers have been intertwined from the very beginning. They were drafted in the first round of successive drafts, with Toews being selected third overall in 2006 and Kane being grabbed with the number one overall pick in 2007. They were both nominated for rookie of the year honors in the 2007-08 season, with Kane grabbing the Calder Trophy that year.
Toews then won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2010 when the Hawks won their first Stanley Cup championship in 49 years, but Kane returned the favor in 2013 when Chicago knocked off the Boston Bruins to win another championship.
At least one member of the Blackhawks made it a point to congratulate the duo, as Patrick Sharp weighed in with a nice tweet:
And then poked a little bit of fun at the team's captain:
I wonder if Toews has smiled yet? — Patrick Sharp (@10PSharp) July 9, 2014
"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 Rocky 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."
Much like Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull before them, the dynamic duo have revitalized interest in hockey in the Windy City, and with these new contracts, they will be in the fold for a long time to come.
"The signings of Jonathan and Patrick symbolize an important milestone in franchise history," Blackhawks CEO John McDonough said. "We are driven by the pursuit of consistent excellence and today is a huge step forward."
We'll have much more on this story as more details emerge.