PHILADELPHIA – For Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, the Jonathan Toews people see today is pretty similar to the one he saw when he was Toews’ coach at the University of North Dakota.
“Very composed, very focused, hard working and a good teammate,” said Hakstol on Wednesday morning. “He was just a good leader for us, even as a young guy. But what probably stands out most is he was always a good teammate. Jonny always put the team first.”
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Toews and Hakstol may not cross paths prior to the game but their teams will meet Wednesday when the Blackhawks face the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Hakstol was named the Flyers’ head coach on May 18. Toews played for Hakstol at North Dakota from 2005-07; the team went to the Frozen Four in both of Toews’ seasons.
“It was a long time ago now but for me, it was a joy and an honor to play for him. He did nothing but great things for my development as a player, helped me step into the NHL and be ready for that level,” Toews said of Hakstol. “He knew how to bring us together and make us feel like we were motivated for the right thing. We came up short a few times there but it’s no coincidence why he kept taking us back to the frozen four every year. We had good teams and he motivated us the right way and got us together. We were always playing goodhockey at the right time.”