The greatest leaders: Crosby and Toews in a very select club

The greatest leaders: Crosby and Toews in a very select club


As they enter their 15th and 16th seasons respectively as captains of the same National Hockey League (NHL) franchise, Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby go down in history as the greatest leaders in their generation. 

In the history of the league, few players have worn the “C” on their jersey for so long with one club. In fact, there are only five. 

– Steve Yzerman 

“Stevie Wonder” is the player who has been captain with the same formation for the longest time, leading the Detroit Red Wings for no less than 19 seasons. Yzerman received this honor in his fourth season, in 1986-87, and retained it until the year of his retirement, in 2006.

The weight of the letter never affected the great British Columbian during his career. Two years after being named captain, he has played six straight 100-plus seasons. He also lifted the Stanley Cup three times (1997, 1998 and 2002).

– Sidney Crosby 

If any man can come close to Yzerman's record, it's Sidney Crosby. The Nova Scotian became the Pittsburgh Penguins point guard in 2007, when he was just a 19-year-old teenager.

Now 35, he begins his 16th campaign as captain and still has many great years ahead of him. In 2009, he became the youngest carrier of the “C” to lead his team to conquer the silver bowl. It was the first of his three championships to date.

– Joe Sakic

Joe Sakic is the only man on this list to have been a captain in two different cities, but for the same franchise. Became captain in 1992-1993 of the Quebec Nordiques, he continued his role with the Colorado Avalanche until 2008-2009, for a total of 15 campaigns.

With two Stanley Cups (1996 and 2001) to his credit, Sakic was also one of the great leaders of the 1990s and 2000s, and above all, an unfailing loyalty to the team that drafted him in 1987. He is also still involved in the offices of the “Avs”, he who is one of the great architects of the conquest of last year.

– Raymond Bourque 

Unlike all the other players on this list, Raymond Bourque could not lead the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup in 15 years as captain. However, he realized his dream by winning with the Avalanche in 2001.

The Quebecer, the most productive defenseman in history with 1,579 points in 1,612 games, led the Bruins to an incredible period of stability. Under his leadership, the team only missed the playoffs once, in 1996-97.

– Jonathan Toews 

On the eve of the campaign 2008-2009, Jonathan Toews succeeded Crosby as the youngest captain in Bettman Tour history. The Manitoban, three cups later (2010, 2013 and 2015), begins his 15th season as the locker room leader of the Chicago Blackhawks.

The 34-year-old centerman has missed the entire schedule of 2020-21 due to injury and his future in the Windy City looks anything but certain. Will the captain lead the rebuilding Hawks for much longer, or will he bring his experience to another club next year?

Watch: Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals, 14 seasons ), Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado Avalanche, 11 seasons), Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning, 10 seasons) and Jamie Benn (Dallas Stars, 10 seasons).