Jonathan Toews thrilled for Winnipeg

Jonathan Toews was 8 years old when his beloved Jets exited his native Winnipeg.

Fans were emptying their piggy banks to try to save the team. Toews had a solution.

"I asked my dad why he didn't just buy the team," Toews told ESPN.com Tuesday from Winnipeg, chuckling at the memory.

The Chicago Blackhawks captain was thrilled with the official announcement Tuesday that the Atlanta Thrashers were moving to Winnipeg. And he's got advice for players who may not be too thrilled with having to play in Winnipeg.

"Growing up here and watching the Jets, I knew what the city was all about," Toews said. "People will get to know what a great hockey town this is. Everyone wants to talk about the cold weather and that it's not easy to live here with the winter and stuff like that. But a lot of guys don't realize the atmosphere for hockey and treatment players will get here beats a lot of the best cities in the NHL. In the next couple of years, I think players will be privileged to play in this city."

Having said that, Toews said he's still surprised it's actually happened.

"The last four or five years you heard whispers that a team might come," he said. "In all honesty, I never thought it would happen during my career. But I guess the opportunity arose with a couple of teams in a situation where they might move. The stars aligned, and hopefully everything goes well the next couple of years."