Professional sports have changed, as has the rest of the world. Once a staple of many pro sports franchises, loyalty to a city or an organization has become few and far between.
Gone are the days of players wearing a single jersey for their entire careers, and in exchange fans have gotten offseasons of player moves, rumors and general roster upheaval. The modern hot stove across sports is one of the main considerations Illinois sportsbooks take into account for future odds.
IllinoisBet went on a mission to search the city of Chicago for its most loyal athlete, using a point system that awards two points for each season spent with the team, two points for each contract signed for three or more years and four points for any pay structures to allow the team cap space.
With years of struggle recently for their major sports franchises, it isn’t shocking the Chicago sports scene has seen plenty of player turnover. The Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks have all seen better days, and when teams don’t perform, roster turnover is naturally part of the equation.
Two players stand well ahead of the pack when it comes to loyalty to their teams and the city of Chicago, both of whom have had their careers linked for almost two decades.
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews easily rank number one and two when it comes to Illinois loyalty, with Kane narrowly edging Toews out simply because his career with the Blackhawks started one year earlier.
Top 3 Most Loyal Athletes in Chicago
Kane, Toews Separate From Pack
It is easy to talk about the two as a pair because their careers with Chicago have been so in sync. On Dec. 9, 2009, both players inked identical five year, $31.5 million contracts with the Blackhawks.
Then, on July 9, 2014 the two once again signed matching contracts, this time for eight years and $84 million.
The contracts both came equipped with no-movement clauses, essentially tying Toews and Kane to the city of Chicago until the end of this season.
Not only have Toews and Kane been loyal to the city of Chicago, they have also delivered a ton of personal and team success across Illinois sportsbook apps. Chicago ended a 49 year championship drought in 2010 when Kane scored in overtime in Game 6 against the Flyers to give the Blackhawks the Stanley Cup.
They repeated the feat in 2013 and 2015 with wins over Boston and Tampa Bay, making the Blackhawks one of the most decorated NHL teams since the turn of the century.
Things have turned south since, as Kane and Toews have aged and the team entered a rebuild. In fact, at BetMGM Illinois Sportsbook, the team is tied for the worst odds to win the Western Conference at +20000.
But for a decade of their tenure, Chicago was one of the most dominant teams the league has seen in a while.
End of an Era?
All good things must come to an end, and rumors are swirling around both Kane and Toews as the team moves on to its next core group, but for now the two mainstays remain in Chicago as the most loyal athletes in the city.
The third-ranked player on the list is Chicago Cub pitcher Kyle Hendricks, who has spent nine straight years with the Cubs, clearly ranking well behind both Kane and Toews.
It may be a dying quality, but loyalty still has its place in sports and particularly in Chicago with Kane and Toews exemplifying that quality more than anyone.
If you're keeping tabs on the Blackhawks this season, take advantage of Illinois sportsbook promotions at IllinoisBet.com before placing a wager.