SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- President and CEO John McDonough said the Blackhawks are an organization that believes in rewarding achievement.
So it was on Wednesday as the Hawks reported here to Stan Bowman's alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, for the start of training camp that the club announced a two-year contract extension for their general manager that will run through the 2017-18 season.
All the 40-year-old Bowman has done since being appointed GM in September of 2010 is win two Stanley Cups, draft forwards Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw and re-sign core players Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Corey Crawford, Bryan Bickell, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson to long-term extensions.
"Stan has played in integral role in the success of our hockey team and the growth of our franchise," McDonough said. "I'm very impressed with his decision-making process, a really important ingredient in what I look for. Going forward, we believe in Stan Bowman."
And Bowman believes in the Hawks, especially those core players who have helped him win two Stanley Cups.
"There are a lot of different ways to win," Bowman said. "I don't think there's just one blueprint. We certainly have the way we believe in, but I won't proclaim to have all the answers.
"You have to have faith that your top players will get you through those tough times and that's why we've made a commitment to those players over the years. You have to identify the guys that are really integral to your team and then you have to fill in around them by having young players in your system. We've been able to do that.
"You find your star players who are the ones who kind of keep the team together, on the ice and off the ice," Bowman said. "They're character guys. It's very hard to find them and once you do, you've got to keep them. We've made a strong effort to do that. Obviously, a strong commitment from ownership is paramount."
Bowman made headlines last week when he told the team's website that Toews and Kane would be Hawks for life and that they weren't going anywhere when they become unrestricted free agents after next season.
The thing is, nobody doubts Bowman will make it happen.
"I referenced the change in our franchise when Rocky (Wirtz) and John took over and I think it was at the same time when Toews and Kane came onto the scene," Bowman said. "Our franchise hasn't been the same since that moment. They put us back on the map and gave us instant credibility. Besides that, they gave us results.
"They're tremendous people that are character kids, that care about their teammates. They care about the city of Chicago and are proud to be Blackhawks. When you find two players like that, that are not only talented players on the ice but quality people off the ice, we're very fortunate. Most teams would die to have one player like that and we're fortunate to have two and we're going to keep them around for a long, long time.
"Rocky is going to do whatever it takes to make this franchise a perennial winner and that's what these players are looking for," Bowman said. "They want to win and they want to win next year and the year after."
To hear what Bowman said was sweet music to Toews' ears.
"It meant a lot to hear that," Toews said. "We understand how special it is to play in Chicago. To be drafted a number of years ago, to play six seasons for the Hawks and live in Chicago, win two Cups already; the amazing things that have happened since I've been a Blackhawk, not a lot of young players can count themselves that lucky to have those chances, and I owe that to my teammates and the organization.
"Right now it would be tough to want to play somewhere else. I don't think there's any place better in the league."