Manitoba

Jonathan Toews gives $1M to Dakota Community Centre

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is donating $1 million to the community club where he learned the game that has made him an NHL star.

'My parents have instilled in me the importance of giving back,' NHL star says

Jonathan Toews is donating $1 million to the community club where he learned to play hockey. (Courtesy Dakota Community Centre)

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is donating $1 million to the community club where he learned the game that has made him an NHL star.

The 28-year-old, who was born and raised in Winnipeg, made the donation Wednesday to the Dakota Community Centre's largest-ever fundraising effort, the Dakota Futures Capital Campaign. Toews was also named the campaign's honorary chair.

The club, in the St. Vital neighbourhood where Toews grew up, already has a strong connection to the NHLer. It renamed its hockey rink the Jonathan Toews Sportsplex in honour of him after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010.

"From my earliest days playing hockey, Dakota Community Centre has always played a pivotal role in my upbringing and my career," Toews said via a video link at Wednesday's event.

"Today, I continue to be honoured to have my name associated with the Sportsplex on the Dakota campus. My parents have instilled in me the importance of giving back, and I believe that in supporting Dakota, we will see endless possibilities for the community centre's future and transformation in the lives of our community members."

The donation from the Jonathan Toews Foundation is the largest ever private donation to a community centre in Manitoba.

The fundraising campaign is for the construction of a new 60,000-square-foot field house, along with future development on the Dakota Community Centre campus.

The new field house will include a 30,000-square-foot gymnasium that will accommodate multiple court sports, such as basketball and volleyball, sport training and conditioning, as well as a host of other sports and recreational events at the local, national and international levels, a news release says.

A three-lane walking/running track, sprint tracks and studio space for health and wellness programs will also be part of the new facility. The field house will be connected to the existing Jonathan Toews Sportsplex through an enclosed connection and is expected to open in fall 2017.

"We are so proud that Jonathan has chosen to give back to the community in this way," Jonathan's parents, Andrée Gilbert and Bryan Toews, stated in a news release.

"Our family has such fond memories of hockey practices and friendships made at the Dakota Community Centre. We look forward to the opening of the new field house and the continued growth of the Dakota campus."