Blackhawks' Toews surprises Wheaton eighth-grader

Blackhawks' Toews surprises Wheaton eighth-grader

  • Monroe Middle School eighth-grader Jeff Kincaid talks with Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews after being surprised during a school assembly as the winner of the "Set Your Sights" contest from Bauer and Total Hockey.

    Monroe Middle School eighth-grader Jeff Kincaid talks with Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews after being surprised during a school assembly as the winner of the "Set Your Sights" contest from Bauer and Total Hockey. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • "Whatever you do in life, first of all enjoy it," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews told students Tuesday during an appearance at Monroe Middle School in Wheaton.

    "Whatever you do in life, first of all enjoy it," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews told students Tuesday during an appearance at Monroe Middle School in Wheaton. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Megan Garazin is in tears after giving Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews a hug after he surprised students at Monroe Middle School in Wheaton during a school assembly.

    Megan Garazin is in tears after giving Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews a hug after he surprised students at Monroe Middle School in Wheaton during a school assembly. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews high-fives students during a surprise visit at Monroe Middle School in Wheaton.

    Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews high-fives students during a surprise visit at Monroe Middle School in Wheaton. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews made a surprise visit to Monroe Middle School in Wheaton to present new hockey gear and $1,000 to the winner of a contest sponsored by Bauer and Total Hockey.

    Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews made a surprise visit to Monroe Middle School in Wheaton to present new hockey gear and $1,000 to the winner of a contest sponsored by Bauer and Total Hockey. Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/11/2015 8:56 AM

Eighth-grader Jeff Kincaid had a lot of thoughts running through his head when his name was called at an all-school assembly Tuesday.

"This is crazy. I can't believe this. Why?"

 

The 13-year-old couldn't stop smiling as he walked past his classmates at Monroe Middle School in Wheaton and shook the hand of the man he called his "hero," Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

Jeff won a new hockey stick, skates and a $1,000 shopping spree in a statewide, online contest sponsored by Bauer and Total Hockey.

In addition, the hockey equipment companies donated about $1,500 worth of new sports equipment to his school.

The sounds of clapping, cheering and preteen-girl shrieking filled the gymnasium as Toews walked in, much to the surprise of not only the students, but also the teachers and administration. Friends squeezed each other's arms and hands moved over mouths and hearts as everyone realized what was going on.

"The championships, the Stanley Cups we've won, that takes a lot of teamwork," Toews said.

"You guys all know that and I could feel it the minute I walked in this room, the teamwork that goes on here: the teachers, the parents, Principal (Bryan) Buck here, all your students."

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Jeff -- who had been out of school for three weeks due to a concussion -- had a chance to sit with Toews and ask him a few questions during the assembly, such as how he would describe his time in school. Towes laughed and admitted he wasn't the best student.

"The important thing was I tried really hard," he said. "I had stronger suits, I think French, English and Spanish ... math and science, not so much."

When asked what his best piece of advice was for the students at Monroe, Toews said he recommends fully immersing yourself in things you're passionate about.

"Whatever you do in life, first of all enjoy it," he said. "Enjoy the process. Don't always think about the end result, where you're trying to go with things. Just be in the moment, be in the present of whatever you're doing."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Toews took some time to take pictures with the kids, sign autographs and give a lot of high-fives.

Later, he shared how something similar happened to him when he was in second grade and his parents took him out of school to see Wayne Gretzky.

"He was getting ready for his game, leaving the hotel or something, and I was able to get his autograph and get a picture with him," he said.

"That was a pretty memorable moment for me."

Toews said it made him feel good that his visit might have been that memorable moment for Jeff and other kids at the school.

"It's one of those things that kind of slows you down a bit," he said. "Sometimes having success, you can kind of get wrapped up in it. When you come here and see the love you get from people who are so thankful and grateful that you're able to share some time with them, it definitely puts that back in perspective."

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