Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews says he likes the prospect of returning to his hometown to play against a Winnipeg-based NHL team.
The Chicago captain and Winnipeg native was in the Manitoba capital for a promotional event for Jumpstart, a national charity sponsored by Canadian Tire.
Hockey fans in Manitoba are awaiting official word on the conclusion of negotiations between True North Sports and Entertainment and the group that owns the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers that would see the team moved to Winnipeg. There is speculation an official announcement of the move from Atlanta to Winnipeg could come by Tuesday.
Toews was asked what he thought of a possible return of the NHL to Winnipeg and what other players might be saying to him about playing in Manitoba.
He said his Chicago teammates expressed some trepidation about Winnipeg's notoriously cold winter weather.
"That's what makes them nervous a little bit. But I always tell them the fans and people here will treat them great and it'll be a great atmosphere to play hockey in.
"The exhibition game we got to play here last year was exciting because it was my first game in Winnipeg since I was about 14 years old," Toews said. "So to get a chance to do it a little bit more often, I won't complain about it. "
Toews is a local hero of sorts in Manitoba, where a northern lake and a community club have been named after him. Toews received the keys to the city of Winnipeg following Chicago's Stanley Cup win in 2010.