Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews makes little boy's dream come true
Jonathan Toews hasn't played a hockey game in over two weeks, but the Blackhawks captain lit the lamp twice Thursday with a pair of impressive feats.
The first came at about 8:30 a.m. when an announcement came that Toews would be donating $100,000 to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund.
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Two hours later, Toews was on the Today show making a young fan's day by wishing him a happy seventh birthday.
"We know you're missing your hockey games and your sports and school," Toews told Belvidere's Declan Dassie, who turned 7 on March 22. "So consider it a rain check, buddy. We'll see you at the United Center soon."
Declan, who has been on a hockey team since he was 5, was supposed to attend the Hawks vs. Predators game on his birthday, but the NHL suspended play 10 days earlier due to coronavirus.
A letter from Declan's grandmother, Donna Dassie, caught the eye of a Today show producer and set the wheels in motion for a truly memorable moment.
A portion of the letter reads: "If I would let him, he would be on the ice 24/7. His love for the Blackhawks runs deep. ...
"Every game he goes to, he always seems to have an impact. He has started chants that the entire stadium has joined in. He's held up signs, one of which went viral. He can name every player on the team and looks up to the way they handle themselves on and off the ice. He has called them his heroes. ...
"During this whole pandemic, he has had his hockey tournament canceled, his school celebrations canceled, his family get together for his birthday canceled and his biggest upset is the Blackhawks game being canceled."
Declan watched Toews' video at home while sitting with his younger sister. His subdued reaction included a grin and a nod of the head.
But hours later, he was bouncing off the walls.
"It doesn't look like he's too excited because he's 7 and he doesn't take shock very well," said Declan's mom, Stefanie Dassie. "But he's screaming down the stairs about playing hockey right this very second. He's definitely excited now that it's actually hit him."